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Carolina celebrates record-breaking fundraising

Fiscal 2015 saw a 44-percent increase in fundraising efforts from last year's record. The commitments came from almost 69,000 donors.

Members of Carolina’s Office of University Development joined Chancellor Carol L. Folt at the Rizzo Conference Center Aug. 12 to celebrate the University’s largest fundraising year in history.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill received nearly $447 million in commitments in fiscal 2015, which ran from July 2014 through June 30. The 44-percent increase from last year marks UNC-Chapel Hill’s best fundraising year of all time.

“This actually came from all corners of the University,” Folt said at the event. “You raised money that will strengthen the entire campus from our schools and units to affect our students and faculty.”

Even without the $100 million commitment from Fred Eshelman to the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, the University still would have broken its fundraising record, topping the previous mark of $342.8 million set in 2008.

Nearly 69,000 donors of alumni, parents, community members, corporations and foundations contributed to the successful year.

“The great and exciting news is not just about the total amount raised, but about the wide range of donors and the increased giving by these groups,” said David Routh, vice chancellor for development. “The strong performance points to future successes. This is a reflection of a great institution with a fantastic community. This demonstrates what we can achieve when we work together.”

Several schools saw double- or triple-digit percentage increases this year including Kenan-Flagler Business School (54 percent), the Graduate School (655 percent), the School of Government (429 percent), Morehead Planetarium and Science Center (173 percent) and the North Carolina Botanical Gardens (1,201 percent).

“The moneys that are being raised benefit the people on our campus, but they also allow our University to do things for people in the state,” Folt said.

Fundraising supports aid programs like the Carolina Covenant, helps researchers find new cures for diseases and provides training for local officials to spur economic growth across North Carolina.

Regardless of the dollar amount of each contribution, Folt said, the money will make a difference for the University.

“It’s important that we remember that it’s not just the size, it’s not where it goes,” she said. “What we’re celebrating today is that every single gift counts.”

Routh ended the event by telling the group that he has confidence that the development team will build on the record-breaking success heading into the new fiscal year.

“Development is a team effort,” he said. “It takes the chancellor through the entire campus to focus together to be successful. … We have a big hill to climb.”