The survey reports that public and private universities received $24.2 billion in private donations in the 2000-01 fiscal year, the largest reported figure in the council's history and a 4.3 percent increase from the previous year.
Ann Kaplan, the director of the survey, said that while this year's increase is in line with a decade-long period of growth in private donations, last year's economic downturn, particularly in the stock market, is reflected in the narrow percent increase over the 1999-2000 figure. "Private contributions to universities always tend to increase, but normally they tend to increase in double digits," she said.
The 2000-01 fiscal year is the first time since 1995 that the percent increase has not been in the double digits.
Kaplan said noncorporate foundation donations, which total about $6 billion and made up 25 percent of voluntary support in 2001, increased the most, while gifts for capital purposes, such as buildings or endowments, hardly grew at all. Alumni contributions totaled $6.83 billion, or 28 percent of support.
Speed Hallman, UNC-CH director of development communications, said the University fits the national trend.
UNC-CH received $157 million in private donations in the 2000-01 fiscal year, down slightly from $165 million in 1999-2000. But Hallman said the 1999-2000 figure was slightly inflated because of an unusually large single donation.
Hallman said that with a little less than three months left in the 2001-02 fiscal year, private donations are up 36 percent.
He also said that in light of the state's projected $1.2 billion budget shortfall for the next fiscal year, private donations will play an increasingly important role in University funding. "Private dollars help fill in the gaps," he said. "They let you fund programs we might not otherwise be able to fund."
The last few years have also seen a gradual change in the source of private donations.
At UNC-CH, noncorporate foundation donations are slowly overtaking corporate and alumni giving. In the 2000-01 fiscal year, foundation donations made up 29 percent of all donations, up 6 percent from the previous year. Alumni and corporate donations both dropped 4 percent, Hallman said.
N.C. State University also saw shifts in funding sources, said David Anderson, associate vice chancellor for university development.
While donations at N.C. State have traditionally come from engineering and technology firms, fund-raisers have been attempting to court increasing alumni and noncorporate foundation donations.
"Increasing private donations will be absolutely critical in the future," Anderson said. "The state has shown it is simply not able to support colleges and universities like it has in the past."
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