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Stanford announces record number of gifts, givers

STANFORD -- Stanford University received a record number of gifts from a record number of donors to establish a new yearly mark for fundraising, Vice President for Development John B. Ford told the Board of Trustees at its meeting Monday, Oct. 9.

Ford said during the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, the total number of gifts was up 5 percent to 80,171, and the number of donors up 4 percent to 45,839. Altogether, donors gave $240.8 million, an increase of 6.5 percent over 1993-94, when a previous record $226.1 million was raised.

The total includes many large gifts for specific purposes - such as buildings, endowments and faculty research programs - as well as thousands of smaller annual discretionary gifts. Ford said the Office of Development is continuing to stress the importance of annual discretionary gifts to the president, the provost and the deans of Stanford's seven schools.

Since 1993, Ford said, there has been a 141 percent increase in the amount of discretionary funds made available to the president and provost, as a consequence of growth in the Stanford Fund and the President's Fund.

Donors during 1994-95 gave nearly $5.8 million to the Stanford Fund ($3,820,624) and the President's Fund ($1,968,117).

The first annual report on the Stanford Fund was mailed the week of Oct. 2 to about 70,000 undergraduate alumni. In addition to the dollar totals, it shows that the percentage of undergraduate alumni contributing to Stanford has increased to 31.3 percent.

Stanford's undergraduate alumni giving percentage has risen significantly since 1992, when just 24 percent (including those who received both bachelor's and advanced degrees from Stanford) made gifts. That figure increased to 25.7 percent the following year and to 30.3 in 1993-94.

Importance of smaller gifts cited

The overall undergraduate alumni giving rate goal for 1995-96 is 35 percent, and it is hoped that percentage will climb to 40 to 45 percent by the end of the decade. While undergraduate alumni are encouraged to give to the Stanford Fund, graduate alumni are encouraged to donate to their respective graduate or professional school funds, which provide discretionary support for the deans.

Nancy Wells, director of the Stanford Fund, said annual gifts from undergraduate alumni to the Stanford Fund last year were equivalent to the income that would be generated by an unrestricted endowment of $75 million (given the current payout rate).

"For the discretionary purposes they serve in support of undergraduate education, these smaller gifts to the Stanford Fund are no less important than the large designated gifts that make headlines," Wells said. "We can't say enough about how significant the collective impact of the smaller annual gifts is on the undergraduate side of the academic enterprise."

The Stanford Fund has been described by Casper as being Stanford's "single most important source of support for undergraduate education and student life." Of the past year's proceeds, nearly two-thirds, or 65 percent, will go toward financial aid. Twenty percent will support undergraduate teaching, 12 percent will be used for special initiatives, and 3 percent will be spent on facilities, such as improvements to the Stanford-in-Washington building.

According to the Stanford Fund's annual report, in 1994-95, 15,839 undergraduate alumni donors gave the greatest combined share, $3,072,618. More than half the seniors in the Class of 1995, 794 students, or 52.3 percent, gave $22,114 through their own gifts, but the overall Senior Gift came to a total of $188,297, including challenge grants from the Parents Advisory Board and trustee Peter Bing, '55.

Parents of students, 1,848 of them, gave a total of $222,813 to the Stanford Fund. A group of 790 "friends of Stanford" donated a total of $203,469, and 313 corporate matching gifts pumped an additional $299,610 into the Stanford Fund.

President's Fund encourages academic innovation

The Office of Development also announced that new gifts to the President's Fund, launched in 1993-94, totaled $1,968,117. There were 112 gifts made, with the average gift being $17,572. The figure was up from 1993-94, when $1.54 million was raised for the President's Fund.

The goal for 1995-96 is $2 million, then increases to $2.5 million for each of the following two years, to create a five-year total goal of $10 million.

This year's President's Fund will be used to support projects to preserve the quality of Stanford's faculty; to attract information resource specialists; and to support graduate research opportunities and graduate workshops in the humanities, the Jasper Ridge Biological Preserve, the Stanford Language Center and the HighWire Press.

In its first year, the fund made significant grants to the Tuna Research and Conservation Center, the Hoover Library Catalog Conversion Project, the Lively Arts, the Flexible Class-Lab and the Overseas Studies Technological Improvement Project.

Other highlights of report

Other highlights of the 1994-95 year follow:

  • New activity (the total of new gifts and new pledges) totaled a record $306.6 million, an increase of 28 percent, assuring support for the years ahead.
  • Life income gifts totaled a record $26.1 million, an increase of 35 percent.
  • Corporate gifts totaled $42.6 million, an increase of 64 percent.
  • Forty-two donors made gifts of $1 million or more.
  • Gifts and pledges for earthquake restoration reached a total of $36.6 million, an increase of $14 million from the start of the fiscal year.
  • Development efforts in schools and departments were equally successful. The Graduate School of Business received the lead gift, from Charles Schwab, for its Learning Center; new gifts and pledges to the Law School Campaign reached $21 million; the School of Education endowed its deanship; and the Athletics Department's Campaign 2000 achieved its endowed financial aid goal of $15 million.

Despite the achievements, Ford told the board committee on development, several challenges remain for Stanford in the years ahead.

"We must continue to refine our case for annual, unrestricted giving across the university, for the schools and the Stanford Fund alike," Ford said. Other challenges, he said, include developing a clear set of fundraising objectives for the major gifts program and launching new corporate and foundation strategies.

Stanford President Gerhard Casper recently announced that oversight for corporate relations would be handled by James Gibbons, dean of the School of Engineering, and foundation relations would be the responsibility of Geoffrey Cox, vice provost for institutional planning and financial affairs. (Gibbons will remain dean until a successor is named.)

Beyond meeting those challenges, Ford said, "Stanford faces increasing pressure to replace government support with private support. We must begin now to build the case for such investment."



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