The University of Pennsylvania ranked seventh in the nation with a fundraising total of $437,717,722 in fiscal year 2011
The success of Penn’s Making History campaign has once again landed the University among the top American fundraising institutions this past fiscal year.
According to a recently released report by the Council for Aid to Education, Penn’s fundraising total of $437,717,722 in fiscal year 2011 marked the seventh highest for any college or university nationwide. The financial year 2011 ended on June 30, 2011.
While Harvard and Yale University took second and third place, respectively, Stanford University topped the list, raising $709,422,838 in the final year of its five-year fundraising campaign. Stanford announced earlier this month that it concluded its capital campaign at $6.2 billion — the largest amount ever raised by a school in a higher education fundraising drive.
At a Board of Trustees meeting earlier this month, Penn reported that Making History currently has raised $3.68 billion — surpassing the $3.5-billion goal set when the campaign began. Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations John Zeller explained that these numbers vary year to year based on the actual amount of cash received by capital campaigns at the time of the ranking.
“I’ve seen years in which [a school] that has traditionally never been in the top 10 ends up first or second because of some specific gift,” he said. “Penn’s historic positioning in the top 10 — our highest was third or fourth — is a real testament to the strength of our program.”
He added that since the Making History campaign concludes at the end of the 2012 calendar year, rather than the fiscal year, the next report on Penn’s ranking among fundraising institutions will only include part of the campaign’s final amount raised. The Council’s findings indicated that donations to colleges have been on the rise nationwide, as well. Charitable contributions to American institutions increased by more than 8.2 percent in 2011.
However, 86 percent of the $30 billion raised went to just 25 percent of the institutions, according to the Council’s annual survey.
Graduate School of Education professor Marybeth Gasman, who specializes in higher education philanthropy, explained that these institutions “have large fundraising staffs, considerable resources and can be in touch on a continual basis with alumni. This makes it much easier to engage alumni and solicit them.”
Zeller attributed the overall rise in giving to the start of the economic turnaround. “What we’ve seen here is really the impact of the recession … The stock market has gone back up, people are feeling more comfortable and seeing a return to philanthropy,” he said.
This trend has played a role in Making History campaign, which has had approximately 220,000 donors to date, according to Penn President Amy Gutmann. “We have increased our fundraising on average over 40-percent higher than what it’s been in the recent past — and our absolute focus is on core priorities,” Gutmann said.