For the third consecutive year, UC Santa Barbara has reached or surpassed $100 million in fundraising, receiving a total $100 million in gifts and pledges for fiscal year 2017. Since 2011, yearly donations to the campus have more than doubled due to philanthropic support.
Sustained annual fundraising at such high levels allows the campus to develop new programs; foster groundbreaking research; bolster facilities; and recruit, retain and nurture faculty, students and staff. The totals include gifts of cash and stock, gifts in-kind, planned and estate gifts and new pledges. Private gifts and grants to UC Santa Barbara account for roughly 10 percent of the university’s overall budget.
“We wish to thank our many supporters — alumni, parents, faculty, staff, community members and friends — for their immense generosity and vision, which help to ensure our continued success and propel us toward ever greater heights of excellence,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “We also are deeply grateful for the guidance and partnership of Chairperson Lady Leslie Ridley-Tree and our UC Santa Barbara Foundation trustees, who work tirelessly on behalf of this great university.”
Growing the UC Santa Barbara endowment is a crucial goal for the campus. Since 2011 UCSB has seen a 50-percent increase to its endowment — from $211 million then to $320 million in the last year. A measurable portion of that growth reflects funding for 10 new endowed chairs, which serve as a critical tool in recruiting and retaining the top faculty that are essential to the university’s success.
Leadership gifts of $1 million or more have become the hallmark of philanthropy to UC Santa Barbara, accounting for $50 million in 2017 alone. The single largest donation was $10 million to establish the Discovery and Environmental Research Initiative, investing in teaching, research and a future brain trust focused on solving major environmental and societal issues. The initiative enhances collaborations between the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management, the Division of Science and the College of Engineering, including the Institute for Energy Efficiency, in a cohesive and creative way.
Among many other notable gifts from the past year were $6 million to establish a research center and support student fellowships at UCSB’s Sedgwick Reserve; $4 million to endow fellowship support at the Institute for Energy Efficiency; and $3 million to provide and sustain a unique and comprehensive opera and operetta collection at the UCSB Library.
Donations of all sizes help advance the mission of the university, where individual gifts of less than $10,000 accounted for nearly 95 percent of the total number of commitments received in 2017, noted Beverly Colgate, UCSB’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Development.
“During the 2016-17 fiscal year, gifts from 12,500 donors came in to support a variety of campus priorities, including undergraduate scholarships, endowed professorships and graduate student fellowships,” Colgate said. “The majority of those gifts were for less than $10,000 each, confirming that donors understand the value of investing in UCSB. International donations are also on the rise, with $6 million received from donors in other countries. All together, these campus advocates create the difference in programs and research that sustain the campus as a top-tier institution.”
With continued focus on increasing alumni giving, UCSB in the last year saw nearly half of its donations come from alumni. UCSB First, a student organization that provides grants for other student groups engaged in philanthropic efforts, doubled its endowment, reflecting more awareness of philanthropy among current students.
The campus in 2017 continued to advance its digital strategies for fundraising, including crowdfunding software and dedicated giving days. Online giving to UCSB — a major growth area for campus fundraising, especially among alumni — increased almost 50 percent over the last two fiscal years, engaging close to 4,500 donors.