By Carol Christian
Nationwide, cash gifts to colleges and universities are up despite a shrinking pool of donors.
Charitable contributions to U.S. institutions of higher education increased 9 percent in 2013 to $33.8 billion, according to the latest annual report from the Council for Aid to Education. It’s the highest total in the report’s history dating back to 1957.
The New York-based nonprofit council, which describes itself as the nation’s “sole source of empirical data on private giving to education,” compiles the report from its annual Voluntary Support of Education survey.
Nearly 60 percent of the institutions that responded to the 2013 survey raised more money that year than in 2012, according to a news release about the survey results released in February.
The survey covers Fiscal Year 2013, which for most institutions ended June 30.
At UT-Austin, charitable giving has recovered well since the recession hit in 2008, spokesman Gary Susswein said Monday.
“We’re on pace to reach our $3 billion capital campaign goal by the end of the summer,” he said.
Major donations to UT-Austin in 2013 have included $50 million from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation to establish the Dell Medical School and $10 million to support community health initiatives, Susswein said. The medical school is scheduled to admit its first class in 2016.
In October, the Galveston-based Moody Foundation announced a $50 million commitment to establish the Moody College of Communication at UT-Austin. The foundation was established in 1942 by W.L. Moody Jr. and his wife, Libbie Rice Shearn Moody.
In March 2013, Dallas businessman Robert B. Rowling, his wife Terry Hennersdorf Rowling and their family pledged $25 million toward a new building for UT’s McCombs School of Business.
Robert Rowling is the owner and chairman of TRT Holdings Inc., which owns Omni Hotels and Resorts and Gold’s Gym.
At Rice University, the Moody Foundation has awarded $20 million for a new Center for the Arts on campus, spokesman B.J. Almond said by email.
Also at Rice, Almond said four recent major gifts have pushed the Centennial Campaign total over $1 billion:
Dr. Milton and Laurie Boniuk gave Rice $28.5 million to establish the Boniuk Institute for the Study and Advancement of Religious Tolerance.
A lead gift for a new opera house at the Shepherd School of Music has been secured from an anonymous donor, and additional funds will be raised to complete the project.
An anonymous friend of the university increased his total campaign commitment to $42 million for a wide range of student activities, facilities and program support.Alumna and trustee Suzanne Deal Booth gave $7.5 million for the arts.
Nationwide, the top 10 institutions, based upon the amount raised, were mostly on the East Coast or in California.
The highest amount raised, $931.6 million, was at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif. Second highest, $792.3 million was at Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
The top 10 fundraising institutions accounted for 1 percent of the responding institutions and raised 17.3 percent of the contributions, the council said in a news release.
Across the United States, giving from college alumni increased more than any other source, but the percentage of alumni who contributed declined. The decline was offset by bigger gifts from those who contributed, the council’s news release said.
During the fiscal year in question, major stock market indexes increased, boosting gifts to universities and affecting institutions’ returns on their investments.