UNC planning largest fundraising campaign ever

CORRECTION: Due to editing errors, Friday’s “UNC to launch fundraising campaign” incorrectly stated that UNC has brought in at least $2.6 million in fundraising each year during the past five years. The correct number is $260 million. The article also stated that the University of Virginia plans to bring in about $2.8 million in gifts for the fiscal year 2012. The correct number is $280 million. The Daily Tar Heel apologizes.

With declining state support and another year of budget cuts looming, administrators have begun planning for the University’s largest fundraising campaign ever.

The University will roll out the project within the next two and a half years, aiming to generate more than $2.38 billion dollars during a span of eight years, said Matt Kupec, vice chancellor for University advancement.

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In the meantime, UNC officials will be emphasizing the importance of fundraising for scholarships and professorships, which have been particularly vulnerable during the economic downturn, to potential donors, Kupec said.

“Clearly as we look at tuition and aid, we’re taking a refreshed look at the way we do fundraising,” he said.

Kupec said officials will target alumni, local UNC supporters, foundations and corporations for gift donations during the involved planning process.

“Going out and asking someone for a major gift doesn’t just happen overnight,” he said. “It’s a process that takes time, clearly one that we’ve done well before.”

Officials are hoping the effort will exceed the $2.38 billion raised in the Carolina First campaign that started in 1999 and ended in 2007.

“It was one of the most successful campaigns ever in higher education in America,” he said.

The University’s first major campaign, Carolina Challenge, launched in the late 1970s and raised $35 million, Director of Development Communications Scott Ragland said in an email.

UNC has also brought in at least $260 million consistently each year during the past five years through annual fundraising.

“We certainly are working hard to do better than last year,” Ragland said.

“The economy seems to be picking up a bit, so hopefully that’s a good sign.”

Officials rolled out what they hoped would be UNC’s largest-ever fundraising effort in 2008, but canceled it in early 2009 after the global economic crisis began.

But as the economic outlook improves, public universities have set out to fundraise once again.

The University of Virginia is known throughout the country for its fundraising abilities, said Robert Sweeney, the school’s senior vice president of development and public affairs.

Sweeney said UVa. has developed a way to compete with the nation’s top private schools and maintain its public mandate.

“UVa. made the decision before many other public universities that support from the commonwealth of Virginia wasn’t going to be enough,” he said.

“State support was only going in one direction, and that was down.”

Sweeney said UVa. plans to bring in about $280 million in gifts for fiscal year 2012.

UVa.’s major fundraising campaigns are what separate it from the rest of public higher education, Sweeney said.

The school is close to completing a $3 billion campaign that began in 2004.

Sweeney said it is important to realize that even big campaigns might never fill in budget caps that raising tuition can.

“You’ll only see fundraising become more and more important in the public university sector.”

Contact the University Editor at university@dailytarheel.com.

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