Buoyed by the largest single gift in the campus’ history and a surge of donors across the giving spectrum, UC Santa Barbara had a landmark fundraising season in fiscal year 2015. With $134 million raised in private support for the year, the Campaign for UC Santa Barbara is on the precipice of its $1 billion goal.
By topping the previous one-year record of $112 million in 2012, UCSB is now averaging nearly $95 million in private support annually over the last four fiscal years.
Driving this banner year was a $65.4 million gift — the largest in the university’s history — from prominent philanthropist and businessman Charlie Munger. The vice chairman of Berkshire Hathaway Corporation, Munger is funding a new visitor housing facility for the UCSB-based Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics (KITP), the world’s leading collaborative research center of its kind.
“Our campus is honored by the tremendous philanthropy of Charles Munger to support scientific collaboration and visitor housing for our Kavli Institute, in addition to his architectural genius and vision for the KITP Residence,” said Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “His gift has crowned the record number of donations made to our campus during this fiscal year.
“We are deeply grateful to each and every one of our supporters for their commitment to enhance excellence in research and education on our campus,” Yang continued. “Your gifts help us to recruit and retain world-class faculty, recognize the importance of staff, support our students, build cutting-edge facilities and strengthen our endowment to support a thriving campus community.”
Other significant philanthropic support this year included a gift of $5 million, from a 1978 alumna, for the Institute for Energy Efficiency (IEE) capital project, an estate gift of $5 million from a beloved alumnus to support the economics department and a $5 million bequest from a local Santa Barbara philanthropist and major campus benefactor. These and other large donations of $1 million or more made up $92 million of the total raised and represent close to 70 percent of all private support. Leadership donors making seven- and eight-figure gifts have played an increasing role in sustaining these larger totals in recent years.
“Support for our public universities is vitally important. Here at UC Santa Barbara, 42 percent of our undergraduate student body are first-generation college students,” said Marcy Carsey, a UC Santa Barbara Foundation trustee and chair of the board for fiscal year 2015. “I’m thrilled that the UC Santa Barbara donor community recognizes the importance of preserving access to affordable public education and of keeping UC Santa Barbara at the forefront of our nation’s great universities.”
The campus is seeing a continued increase in the number of donors at all giving levels, securing 14,000 donor gifts this fiscal year alone. The growth demonstrates the steadfast commitment to UCSB of its many constituencies, from alumni to parents to corporations and foundations.
Student support, for graduates and undergraduates alike, remains a high priority. With close to $75 million raised directly for scholarships, fellowships and student awards during the campaign, the campus continues to meet an important goal. This last year saw the UCSB donor community rally around support for student health and safety initiatives, thereby enhancing the communities where our students learn and live, both on campus and in Isla Vista.
Alumni donors continue to make up 14 percent of all campaign dollars raised and sustain this average annually. These dollars and all giving support myriad areas on campus and make up that margin of excellence needed to propel UC Santa Barbara’s reputation for cutting-edge research, outstanding teaching and meaningful public service.
“I think all of these numbers convey a major vote of confidence, demonstrating that our donors feel UCSB is a campus in which to invest and really make an impact,” said Beverly Colgate, associate vice chancellor of university development. “This trend of big investments in UC Santa Barbara, whether outright or in a planned gift, elevates our levels of private support each year — financial support that is tremendously important in sustaining our campus operations and growth. Our donors are critical partners who understand why philanthropy is so crucial to public universities at a time when state funding to higher education is at such low levels.”