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Donors increase commitments to the U for third consecutive year

University of Minnesota alumni and friends gave $244 million in gifts and commitments to the university in fiscal year (FY) 2012, an increase of 10 percent compared with FY11 and a 31 percent increase over FY10. Gifts and commitments this year were made by 78,262 donors, of whom 59 percent were alumni, 36 percent were individuals and 5 percent were organizations.

These figures were part of the combined report on giving presented to the university’s Board of Regents today by Steve Goldstein, president and CEO of the University of Minnesota Foundation, and Becky Malkerson, president and CEO of the Minnesota Medical Foundation.

“Visionary benefactors made 2012 a truly tremendous year for philanthropy at the University of Minnesota,” said Goldstein. “Donors set new milestones in giving, despite a challenging economy. These generous individuals, businesses and foundations are vital catalysts in advancing the critical work of the university.”

One of the highest priorities for university fundraising in recent years has been to increase financial support for students in the form of scholarships and fellowships. In FY12, donors committed $60 million in gifts for student support, up from $52 million in the previous year.

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler has said that keeping the university affordable and accessible to qualified students of all economic backgrounds is one of his highest priorities. “Investing in scholarships gives students the opportunity to build a better future for themselves and Minnesota, which should never be limited by their ability to pay,” said Kaler. “It is also an investment in our future. Bright, well-educated students will transform our economy and are essential to our quality of life. Our donors recognize that excellence and opportunity go hand-in-hand at the University of Minnesota.”

Donors committed gifts for other important initiatives, as well. More than $15 million was raised for an addition to Amundson Hall, home of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, to accommodate more students and faculty and expand research capacity. In the area of medicine and human health, gifts were made to create an endowed chair in pediatric cancer research, expand neuroscience research, and develop new therapeutic drugs. Two teaching facilities in the health sciences, the Pediatric Dental Clinic adjacent to the Amplatz Children’s hospital, and a new high-tech nursing teaching facility, broke ground thanks to new gifts.

“Our donors know that by partnering with the university, they have the rare opportunity to potentially improve the lives of millions of other people,” said Malkerson. “They also realize we must make significant investments in leading-edge research and high-caliber faculty, as these are essential elements behind our international standing as a center for discovery.”

The University of Minnesota Foundation and the Minnesota Medical Foundation coordinate fundraising on behalf of all campuses and units at the University of Minnesota, and manage distributions to the university to ensure that gifts are used as donors intend. In FY12, $169 million was distributed to the university to fulfill needs and create opportunities across all five campuses.

The $244 million total includes outright gifts, pledges and future gifts.