PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Just outside Brown’s Granoff Center for the Creative Arts, construction crews are hard at work clearing a site for a cutting-edge Performing Arts Center, where students and faculty will soon push the boundaries of innovation in arts scholarship and performance. Steps away on Angell Street, researchers at the Carney Institute for Brain Science are working toward cures for the world’s most persistent and devastating neurological disorders.
Elsewhere on campus, 31 faculty members in recently endowed professorships are advancing research to find solutions to urgent global challenges. New admissions and financial aid initiatives are attracting talented, high-achieving students from an expanding range of socioeconomic backgrounds. And once on campus, students are thriving thanks to new support for academic programs, campus facilities, wellness initiatives, athletics and more.
These are among the many ways the $3 billion BrownTogether comprehensive campaign is making a transformative impact on the Brown community. Three and a half years after its launch, the campaign has reached a milestone moment — surpassing the $2 billion mark with support from more than 56,000 individual donors. To date, the campaign has raised $2.06 billion.
With the campaign’s 2022 target end date in sight, momentum behind BrownTogether remains vigorous, said University President Christina Paxson.
“BrownTogether is the most aspirational campaign in University history, and I am incredibly proud of how our community has invested in Brown’s future,” Paxson said. “Gifts from tens of thousands of donors are supporting research, teaching, learning and campus life at the highest levels of excellence. Brown is reaching new levels of advancing its mission to provide exceptional education and to serve society through groundbreaking scholarship with real-world impact.”
Of the total dollars raised to date:
$537 million has been raised toward the campaign’s $1.05 billion Investing in People goal. This includes support for endowed chairs to advance faculty research and teaching; graduate and medical student fellowships; and programs and initiatives to support diversity and inclusion. It also includes a $500 million goal for undergraduate financial aid, $120 million of which will enable permanent implementation of The Brown Promise, which removed University-packaged loans from all Brown undergraduate aid awards beginning this year.
$717 million has been raised toward the campaign’s $800 million Education and Research goal. This includes faculty and student research opportunities; summer internships around the globe; engaged learning opportunities in local communities; and continued growth of entrepreneurship and innovation programs.
$495 million has been raised toward the campaign’s $750 million Campus and Community goal. This includes support for new and renovated buildings; instructional and research technology; improved libraries, laboratories and research infrastructure; funding for student services and initiatives including counseling and psychological services, wellness programs and support for first-generation college students; and other campus life priorities.
$236 million has been raised toward the campaign’s $400 million Brown Annual Fund goal. These unrestricted funds ensure that Brown provides strong support for financial aid, teaching and scholarship, and has the ability to jumpstart initiatives in emerging areas of education and discovery.
$73 million in recent gifts has been pledged to Brown by generous donors who have committed to supporting Brown’s strategic priorities and continue to plan where the gift will be directed.
Expanding spaces and programs for teaching and research
Over the last four years, students and faculty have already seen the impact of BrownTogether on teaching, learning and research.
A new 80,000-square foot state-of-the-art Engineering Research Center has affirmed engineering as a cornerstone of Brown’s research and teaching mission. Friedman Hall was renovated and expanded to meet the needs of today’s students. Last fall, the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs opened the doors to Stephen Robert Hall, culminating a major physical and academic expansion supported by a consortium of generous donors.
In April 2018, one of the single largest gifts in University history — $100 million from alumnus Robert J. Carney and Nancy D. Carney — promised to transform Brown’s ability to advance discovery in brain science and help find cures to persistent and devastating diseases like ALS and Alzheimer’s.
The gift named the Carney Institute for Brain Science and established it as one of the best-endowed university brain institutes in the country. Diane Lipscombe, a professor of neuroscience and director of the institute, called the occasion a transformative moment.
“We will be able to crack the neural codes, push discoveries forward and address some of the largest challenges facing humanity, at the same time training the next generation of brain scientists,” Lipscombe said.
In November 2018, Diana Nelson and Brown alumnus John Atwater made a $31.6 million gift in support of a range of essential priorities, including the University’s planned Performing Arts Center.
Architectural renderings released last month unveiled plans for a radical, one-of-a-kind building designed to inspire innovative new art-making, enable unprecedented artistic collaboration and serve as a hub for performance at Brown. The gift from Nelson and Atwater will create the building’s lobby to serve as a central convening space on campus.
“We have had a thriving ecosystem of performing arts at Brown for decades,” said Butch Rovan, a professor of music and faculty director of the Brown Arts Initiative. “Yet our current spaces don’t adequately enable even simple collaborations. This building will be a magnet for creative artists from across campus and from well beyond.”
Access and affordability
For the current 2018-19 academic year, no Brown undergraduates who receive financial aid have loans packaged in their University awards. Instead, through The Brown Promise, support from donors has allowed Brown to replace loans with scholarships, a significant boost in affordability for low- and moderate-income families.
To date, BrownTogether has raised more than $155 million toward undergraduate scholarships and an additional $57.5 million for The Brown Promise. The initiative, launched in late 2017, reached its initial fundraising goal of $30 million in just four months. The impact has been immediate. In addition to the enhanced financial support for currently enrolled students, the early decision applicant pool for the Class of 2023 was 21 percent larger than the previous year. Dean of Admission Logan Powell attributes that largely to The Brown Promise.
“The Brown Promise adds to an expanding array of Brown initiatives focused on boosting access and affordability,” he said. “We were excited this year to offer early admission to 769 students who are not only remarkably talented, but represent a wide range of backgrounds.”
Class of 1972 alumna and Brown parent Joan Wernig Sorensen — a campaign co-chair, Corporation member and longtime benefactor — said that financial aid remains a top priority as BrownTogether moves forward. The campaign will continue to focus on endowed scholarships to ensure that financial aid at Brown is sustainable for generations of students to come.
“Endowed scholarships provide permanent financial support and help us to bring the best and brightest students to the University,” Sorenson said. “This ensures that the entire Brown community benefits from diverse perspectives, which are central to the Brown experience."
Other scholarship funding includes fellowships for graduate students and a new Brown Annual Fund scholarship to support exceptional African American students for four years of study. The initial fundraising goal for this scholarship was quickly met after the Inman Page Council launched the effort at the Black Alumni Reunion last fall, and continued fundraising will ensure its permanence.
Investing in leading faculty and academic programs
From brain science to the arts to many other fields of study, endowed professorships supported by BrownTogether are giving the University the means to attract and retain the best teachers and scholars. Since the campaign’s launch, 68 new endowed chairs have been raised through the generosity of Brown donors. Thirty-one of those positions are now filled with talented faculty members who are conducting research and enhancing the academic experience for students.
“Brown is positioning itself to be an even more powerful force in research and education, and we need the very best faculty to help us do that,” said 1986 graduate Ralph Rosenberg, a campaign co-chair and Brown Corporation member whose family foundation created the Rosenberg Family Professor of Brain Science at Brown. “Endowed professorships, like the one we funded for brain science, are crucial for attracting and recruiting the world's top scholars and educators and for keeping rising-star faculty here at Brown.”
In total, BrownTogether has raised $259 million for new faculty positions. Approximately $64.7 million of that total has supported recruiting faculty from historically underrepresented groups.
Additionally, $45.5 million has been raised to support goals outlined in Brown’s Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion action plan. BrownTogether has increased support for initiatives designed to ensure that students from all backgrounds have access to the many opportunities available at Brown and others that promote diversity and inclusion.
Among these are investments in the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America that are helping it to become an increasingly powerful force in fueling the discovery of new modes of thinking on the most pressing social, political and cultural concerns in contemporary society.
"The Brown community continues to demonstrate its commitment to achieving the ambitious goals established in our diversity and inclusion action plan," said Shontay Delalue, Brown’s vice president for institutional equity and diversity. "Support from alumni, parents and friends of the University has enabled us to establish a variety of initiatives and programs that are advancing the development of an academic community that embodies the demographic and intellectual diversity of the world."
Another goal of the campaign has been to increase co-curricular and career opportunities for students. One major achievement has been the launch and expansion in 2015 of BrownConnect, which has provided more than 2,700 “Bruno Opportunities” — internships posted by alumni or parents that give Brown students preference in hiring. Campaign fundraising for BrownConnect has also provided more than $11 million to enable students from all backgrounds to take advantage of low-paid or unpaid internships and research opportunities.
“It’s incredible to see the growth of BrownConnect,” said Aixa Kidd, the initiative’s director. “That’s due to this amazing support we have from people in our own community who really understand how important these experiences are for our students.”
Community effort, community impact
Donors have also stepped up to support a wide range of campus life initiatives.
With generous support from the family of Duncan MacMillan and from Barry Sternlicht and Mimi Reichert Sternlicht, the University is advancing plans toward a new integrated health and wellness center to be built on its College Hill campus.
Creating a new center will build on increasing momentum toward holistic, integrative health practices, said Dr. Vanessa Britto, the University’s assistant vice president for campus life and executive director of health and wellness: “Physical well-being is deeply interconnected with mental and emotional well-being,” she said. “Co-locating Health Services and Counseling and Psychological Services in a modern and welcoming building will not only build our capacity to fully support students, but also provide a more seamless clinical experience.”
In recent months, campaign giving to support Brown Athletics surpassed $100 million. Through investments in coaching staff, facilities and recruiting, donors to BrownTogether are significantly advancing Brown’s goal of amplifying the student-athlete experience.
“Those who have given to the campaign understand that a student-athlete’s experience at Brown involves both competing at the highest level and achieving academic excellence in classrooms and laboratories across campus,” Director of Athletics Jack Hayes said.
Gifts to the Annual Fund — which support immediate investments in strategic areas of University life ranging from financial aid to research to career preparation — continue to be a focal point for donors who contribute in amounts from $1 to $1.25 million. A record $45.8 million in Annual Fund donations in 2018 represented a 23 percent increase compared to the previous year.
“I am really excited that the campaign is another vehicle that supports Brown’s mission of investing in people and is showing real impact across the University,” said campaign co-chair Theresia Gouw, a Corporation member, 1990 graduate and longtime Brown supporter. “From supporting dynamic, state-of-the-art teaching and research spaces on campus, to providing financial aid to students and making a Brown education more affordable through The Brown Promise and the removal of loans from undergraduate financial aid packages, the campaign is providing vital resources to students and faculty, allowing them to collaborate, innovate and achieve excellence.”
As the campaign approaches its 2022 end date, the outstanding energy and support from the extended Brown community that has enabled the success of BrownTogether continues to build, said Sergio Gonzalez, senior vice president for advancement.
“We are at a point where we’re seeing tremendous momentum,” Gonzalez said. “It’s happening on all levels — with support for professorships, scholarships and research that will drive discovery and break new ground, and through record-breaking giving to the Brown Annual Fund. Thanks to the generosity of our alumni and friends, we have reached this milestone and moved one step closer to our $3 billion goal.”