PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Bolstered by the launch of the BrownTogether campaign, record-high contributions to the Annual Fund and a significant increase in major gifts, Brown University set multiple fundraising records during the 2016 fiscal year, which ended on June 30.
In total, the University raised $300.7 million, $8 million more than in fiscal year 2015, the prior record. Gifts in cash accounted for $217 million, up from a previous high of $215 million in 2005.
As part of the BrownTogether campaign, the funds will support investments in people, innovative education and research, and initiatives in campus infrastructure and student life, enabling Brown to realize the goals of Building on Distinction, the strategic plan that will guide the University’s growth and development well into the next decade.
“We owe our deepest gratitude to our alumni, parents, faculty and staff whose loyalty and generosity are making a tangible difference in the future of Brown,” said Patricia Watson, senior vice president for university advancement. “Sustaining this level of fundraising success will serve the University well in the years ahead and support our strategic growth in areas of both strength and potential.”
Record giving results extended across the pyramid of major gifts as well. Gifts of $5 million or more doubled in the past two years, and gifts in the $100,000 to $249,000 range grew 16 percent from the previous fiscal year.
Additionally, donors gave a record $36.6 million to the Brown Annual Fund. Gifts to the Annual Fund ensure that Brown can make immediate investments in strategic areas and support countless aspects of University life, from financial aid to student and faculty research to career preparation opportunities.
In recent years, Brown has used Annual Fund dollars to increase the generosity of financial aid packages for middle-income families; expand BrownConnect, which links current students with internships offered by Brown alumni and parents; and support Undergraduate Teaching and Research Awards for projects focused on topics as diverse as traumatic head injuries, the impact of prisons on LGBT youth and the experiences of black abolitionists.
Five reunion classes (1956, 1966, 1986, 1996, 1991) played a major role in the Annual Fund’s success, exceeding their goals and collectively raising more than $6.6 million.
“We are thrilled with the record-breaking levels that the Annual Fund reached this year thanks to the tremendous dedication and efforts of more than 28,000 alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students and friends,” said Class of 1976 alumna Nancy Neff, who serves with fellow Brown graduate Todd Fisher as co-chair of the Brown Annual Fund Leadership Council. “Their gifts provide crucial and immediate support to Brown when and where it is needed most. We are extremely proud of the high level of engagement.”
Brown’s youngest donors were particularly energized during fiscal year 2016. Young Leaders — donors who graduated between 2011 and 2015 and gave between $1,000 and $2,499 — finished 24.6 percent ahead of last year in dollars raised for the Annual Fund and 11.9 percent ahead in the number of contributors. Similarly, the Senior Class Gift effort finished the year with 670 donors, 16.3 percent ahead of last year.
Notably, the Parents Annual Fund — the portion of the fund given by parents who are not Brown alumni themselves — surpassed both its goal and last year's results with $5.36 million raised. A total of 147 non-alumni families were Brown Annual Fund leaders, donors who give more than $10,000, a 13 percent increase over last year and a 9 percent increase over the previous record of 135. This included a nearly 100 percent increase at the $15,000 level.
The fundraising successes of fiscal year 2016 come in the context of the BrownTogether campaign’s public launch. With a goal of raising $3 billion dollars, BrownTogether is the University’s most ambitious campaign to date and will support an array of priorities including financial aid, faculty recruitment, diversity and inclusion initiatives, facilities improvements, student opportunities and more. The campaign will also increase support for addressing critical global issues through research and scholarship in areas outlined as “integrative themes” in Building on Distinction. The themes stress collaboration across different fields of study to tackle complex challenges and develop solutions on issues that range from climate change to human health to peace and prosperity.
When the campaign entered its public phase in October 2015, more than 40,000 donors had already contributed about $950 million — including 10 donors who each gave $25 million or more. In March, BrownTogether hit the $1 billion mark.
“The entire Brown community is passionate about the goals of BrownTogether, and this was palpable in this year’s record-setting giving,” said Jerome Vascellaro, chair of the committee on fundraising. “Alumni, parents and friends of the University see great value in meaningful investments in our people, our education and research programs, and our campus and community, because they know that the collective impact of these investments will ultimately serve to better our world.”
Watson said the year’s record-high fundraising totals are a testament to the spirit and strength of the Brown community.
“It is tremendously gratifying to witness such a wide spectrum of donors and volunteers invest in the future of this University,” Watson said. “The generosity of the Brown community continues to energize the campaign and is instrumental in supporting President Paxson’s vision for the future of Brown.”