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The Daily Tar Heel

Campaign for Carolina ahead of schedule as it nears $4.25 billion fundraising goal

UNC's first on-campus vaccine clinic opens Wednesday
Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz gives an interview in the Student Union on March 31, 2021. As North Carolina began to allow college students to receive coronavirus vaccines, UNC opened a clinic on campus where students can receive the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Campaign for Carolina fundraiser intended to raise $4.25 billion between when it launched in 2017 and December 2022. And with the fundraising window set to close in just over a year and half, the campaign is ahead of schedule. 

The Campaign for Carolina fundraiser aims to reduce financial barriers for students by funding scholarships, promoting the arts, supporting faculty and student innovation and encouraging overseas abroad experiences. 

David Routh, the vice chancellor for University development, noted that the goal is well on its way to completion.

“The really good news is, at this stage in the campaign, we are about 78 percent of the time elapsed, but we have already raised 87 percent of the goal," Routh said. "So we are ahead by about eight or nine months. The campaign is scheduled to end Dec. 31, 2022, so we’re about 20 months out from the end of the campaign, but running nicely ahead.”

Routh said the University has so far raised $3.7 billion out of the total $4.25 billion goal. But, he stressed that not all of the money is available for immediate use.

“Some of what we have raised is pledged over multiple years so a donor pays over three years, or five years, for example,” Routh said. “In many cases, donors are giving money to create permanent support programs so that money will go to an endowment and then the University will have a 5 percent distribution from that endowment for current uses.”

Routh also highlighted that money available for use now, which is unrestricted funding, is valuable — especially during ongoing budget challenges.

“Every school unit on campus athletics, the College of Arts and Sciences, to business, to medicine has focused more on unrestricted giving," Routh said. "Those unrestricted monies have been extremely helpful in the middle of budget challenges, which we will get through.” 

Impact across campus

For Deirdre Gordon, the associate dean for advancement at the UNC School of Law, the Campaign for Carolina is impactful in the long term. 

“The Campaign for Carolina represents a big investment for the law school," Gordon said. "The law school itself has a goal of $75 million to raise during the campaign. That $75 million is going to make a huge impact for us for our student experience, particularly around providing scholarships for our students. We have already raised around $18 million for scholarships for our students that will spin off and provide income and support for a long time forever.”

The Campaign for Carolina has also enabled the law school to provide experiential learning opportunities for students, Gordon said.

Gordon said that philanthropic money supports three new clinics, which provide students the ability to practice law with actual clients under the supervision of faculty and staff lawyers. The creation of the three clinics the Startup NC Law Clinic, the Intellectual Property Clinic and the Critical Race Lawyering Civil Rights Clinic represents an approximate 30 percent increase in the number of clinics at the law school.

As for the law school’s $75 million funding wish, Gordon said it is on track to meet its fundraising goal.

Katie Ziglar, the director of the Ackland Art Museum, also pointed out the benefit of private donations from the campaign. 

“It’s so important to have private funding," Ziglar said. "We have funding from the state, which is cut over time instead of growing. So that’s a problem. We also have endowments that earn interest that we can spend. It’s really important to be adding to those endowments for the financial stability of the Ackland.”

Unlike academic departments, fundraising for the Ackland includes works of art, which are factored into its total. 

Ziglar said the Ackland has a goal to raise $250 million for the Campaign for Carolina. During the last major University-wide fundraising effort, the Carolina First campaign, the Ackland raised only $13 million. 

Routh said the funding from the campaign will help meet the needs of a great University. 

"I love our University," he said. "The good thing is we have had 190,000 donors that have made a gift in this campaign — that’s a lot of people out there who have responded, love this place and want it to be as good as it possibly can be."

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