PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Bolstered by record-setting fundraising totals for gifts in cash and Annual Fund contributions, Brown University raised $270.4 million during the 2017 fiscal year that ended on June 30.
Gifts in cash totaled $241.7 million, up from last year’s record high of $217 million, and the Annual Fund raised $37.9 million, a $1.3 million increase over the previous record in fiscal year 2016.
A number of major gifts supporting strategic University priorities added to fiscal year 2017 totals. Among the highlights was a $27 million gift from the Warren Alpert Foundation that will catalyze biomedical discoveries and ensure that they produce tangible health benefits. In addition, gifts in the $1 million to $4.9 million range rose by 36 percent compared to last year.
Patricia Watson — Brown’s senior vice president for university advancement during the recently ended fiscal year — said that the fundraising totals demonstrate the continued momentum of the current BrownTogether comprehensive fundraising campaign, the University’s most ambitious campaign to date.
"Since the launch of BrownTogether, we continue to see impressive support for our campaign priorities, not only through endowed professorships and scholarships, but also through increased participation in Annual Fund giving,” Watson said. The Annual Fund provides critical support because it can be put to use right away for students and faculty.
"Strong support for annual giving and major gifts is building momentum as we draw closer to a major milestone for the campaign," Watson said. "Our goal is to hit the halfway mark of $1.5 billion this year."
Launched in October 2015, the campaign has raised $1.37 billion dollars, more than 45 percent of its $3 billion goal. Funds raised to date are supporting 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 into the next decade.
“We want to thank the many members of the Brown community who made this year’s fundraising such a success,” Watson said. “Together, we are moving Brown to a new level of excellence, investing in the University’s distinctive and innovative approach to teaching and research.”
The Annual Fund — which supports immediate investments in strategic areas of University life ranging from financial aid to research to career preparation — continues to be a focal point for donors who contribute in amounts from $1 to $1 million. In each of the past eight years, members of the Brown community have contributed $35 million or more through the Annual Fund, a trend that continued with this year’s record high.
Class of 1987 alumnus John Ehrenkranz, who serves as Annual Fund co-chair alongside fellow Brown graduates John Atwater and Paula McNamara, said the co-chairs were elated by the fundraising record.
“With these immediate-use dollars, Brown has more resources to provide financial aid to enroll the nation’s best and brightest students from all income groups and to attract the world’s best faculty,” he said. “Even more important is the broad-based support we received from alumni, with high participation rates across the class years.
“Brown community members helped lay the foundation for continued fundraising success that will help Brown realize the vision set forth in Building on Distinction,” Ehrenkranz said. “I am particularly proud of and thankful for the efforts of my reunion class, which broke multiple giving records this year.”
The Class of 1987 became the first in Brown history to set three giving records during a reunion year: total giving ($3.8 million), participation rate (47.4 percent) and number of Annual Fund leaders, which are donors who give more than $10,000 (77).
In all, Annual Fund giving by donors from reunion classes totaled $10.9 million, an increase of 10.5 percent from last year.
Other successful Annual Fund initiatives included Brunonians Pay It Forward Day, which raised $1.65 million in one day from 3,646 donors, and the Women Together Challenge, in which the Women’s Leadership Council pledged $1.25 million if 7,125 alumnae made a gift in any amount to the Annual Fund. The participation goal was a nod to this year’s celebration of 125 Years of Women at Brown and was met by the time of the conference marking the event, with 7,502 alumnae donating nearly $10 million.
Countless volunteers worked on the BrownTogether campaign in fiscal year 2017, with roles ranging from Annual Fund co-chairs to BearShare ambassadors, who share stories about the University and make calls for giving via social media.
“Our progress on the campaign would not be possible without the strategic vision set forth by President Christina Paxson and the dedication of a strong alumni volunteer corps,” Watson said. “Our volunteers contribute to our success in many ways, from the guidance they provide on advisory councils to the work they do to advance our reunion campaigns and other events that engage alumni and donors and get them excited about Brown and its future.”