Carolina launches $4.25 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign

Carolina has launched For All Kind: the Campaign for Carolina,” an ambitious fundraising drive that seeks to raise $4.25 billion over the next five years.

Chancellor Carol L. Folt, along with Board of Trustees Chair Haywood Cochrane and Vice Chancellor for Development David Routh, announced the launch on Polk Place on Oct. 6, in a tent packed with an enthusiastic crowd of students, faculty, staff, alumni, key stakeholders, campaign leaders and volunteers.

“That $4.25 billion carries an enormous responsibility and we intend for every single dollar to be put to use in the public good,” Folt said.

The campaign is the most ambitious fundraising drive by a university in the history of the state. It is also the largest in the Southeast and second largest among public institutions in the nation.

Its launch, Folt added, is “a big moment that highlights incredible opportunities ahead for our University and our state.”

At its core, she added, the campaign will support funding priorities and signature initiatives established by The Blueprint for Next – the first unifying framework in Carolina’s history that Folt developed to guide Carolina’s growth and future direction.

“We’ve spent the past three years planning – asking each other what IS possible – and what we need to do to make it happen,” Folt said.

The gifts highlighted during the announcement buttress the Blueprint’s key pillars – “Of the Public, for the Public” and “Innovation Made Fundamental” — and uphold Carolina’s commitment to grow and evolve while remaining rooted in its public service mission, Folt said.

Support for three signature initiatives

Folt on Friday highlighted three signature initiatives, starting with The Carolina Edge, a campaign to raise $1 billion to support undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships in areas such as the Carolina Covenant, middle-income scholarships, merit scholars, summer internship grants, athletics and graduate and professional school financial aid.

“This is the single biggest fundraising initiative in our history and it sits at the heart of our identity and vision,” Folt said. “This is our dream to eliminate all financial barriers to a great education and to recruit the very best, from all backgrounds, across all schools and help them succeed and become leaders of tomorrow. We don’t want cost or debt to be a limiting factor for any student.”

A second pan-university initiative is Arts Everywhere, which seeks to revolutionize academics and enhance public service at Carolina by investing in sustained creative practice, live arts experiences and arts learning. In support of it, Folt announced three major art gifts collectively valued at $45 million to the Ackland Art Museum that will increase the museum’s encyclopedic collection and accelerate its mission to become the preeminent public university art museum in the country.

The third initiative is to create the UNC Institute for Convergent Science that will help tackle the world’s pressing problems by speeding the commercialization of new discoveries, breakthroughs and treatments. The way it will do it, Folt added, was through greater cross-disciplinary collaboration among students, researchers and entrepreneurs.

“We are really good at collaboration, but we want to be better,” Folt said.

“What are you for?”

Finally, John L. Townsend III was greeted with thunderous applause and a standing ovation after Routh called him to the stage to talk about the sweeping $50 million gift that he and his wife, Marree, gave to the campaign that will benefit the Ackland Art Museum, the College of Arts & Sciences, Kenan-Flagler Business School and Carolina athletics.

Townsend, an alumnus serving as chair of the Campaign for Carolina, said he and his wife discovered “the transcendent joy of philanthropy” after they made the commitment to give.

“I would challenge each one of you to do the same,” he said.

Before making the gift, Routh said, Townsend asked him and Folt: What are your strategic priorities that will yield the greatest return on your investment?

“What a wonderful question and a thoughtful approach to Carolina philanthropy,” Routh added.

As a result of that conversation, the couple’s gift includes $25 million worth of art to Ackland Museum – a gift the Townsends were motivated to make to help elevate the visual arts at Carolina to the same level of the performing arts.

Folt and Routh then challenged people in the audience to ask themselves this question: “What are you for?”

“One of the most exciting things about a campaign like this is that it gives us a chance to tell our story and to have every one of you put a stake in the ground about what you care about,” Routh said. “What has caused you to love this place for so long?”

Campaign announcements continued throughout the weekend, with one on Saturday.

During Carolina’s home football game against Notre Dame, UNC-Chapel Hill announced a $20 million challenge in support of need-based aid for students from military families who qualify for the Carolina CovenantThe Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge, which runs through October 2019, results from a gift commitment totaling $40 million from Steve and Debbie Vetter of Greensboro, with $20 million supporting the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge, $10 million supporting UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and $10 million supporting Carolina athletics.

Watch the full “For All Kind: the Campaign for Carolina” announcement and a recap of the announcement on UNC-Chapel Hill’s YouTube channel.

Story by Gary Moss, University Gazette
Published October 6, 2017