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Penn State Sets Fundraising Record with $381 Million in Donations

by on July 20, 2020 2:01 PM

Penn State set a new fundraising record for the third consecutive year, according to a university news release on Monday.

For fiscal year 2019-20, donors committed $381.3 million, surpassing last year's total of $372.6 million.

“I know that these are difficult times for many members of the Penn State community, both near and far from our campuses, and that there are many demands upon their attention, energy, and resources," President Eric Barron said in a statement. "The continuing support we have received is both humbling and inspiring, and we are committed to fulfilling the faith in our institution that is reflected in this year’s fundraising results.”

Barron noted that because 99% of gifts received by the university are designated for specific purposes by donors, they cannot be used to make up for revenue losses and increased expenses resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. The university projects a revenue loss of more than $180 million for 2020-21. 

Endowed funds are designed to provide ongoing support, according to the university.

“The restricted use of these funds helps to ensure that the scholarships, programs and opportunities they support will continue to be available for students and faculty far into the future,” Barron said.  

Penn State did, however, receive donations that help to provide immediate short-term support, including more than $650,000 for the Student Care and Advocacy Emergency Fund, which is being directed to students struggling with the economic impact from the pandemic.

Among the major gift commitments received in 2019-20, private donors gave $15.5 million to create the new Palmer Museum of Art at the Arboretum. The the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation committed $15.5 million for a new scholars program that will support high-achieving engineering students who have significant financial need. Alumni Scott and Marcy Tariff gave $5 million to create the Tariff Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility in the Smeal College of Business. Gene and Roz Chaiken added to their scholarship endowments in the College of the Liberal Arts, which already totaled $4.5 million to support 775 student scholarships.

Last fall, Penn State raised $213,000 for food pantries to best Ohio State in the Tackle Hunger challenge. On Giving Tuesday, donors gave  $746,246 to support efforts ranging from the Blue Band to club sports to text books for students with financial need.

With 2019-20's total, the university remained on track to meet the $2.1 billion goal for its fundraising campaign “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence.” The campaign began in 2016 with an initial goal of $1.6 billion, but last year the target was increased and the timeline extended to conclude on June 30, 2022.

To date, Penn State has raised $1.467 billion, 70% of the goal with 66% of the campaign time elapsed.

“The campaign’s continued momentum, even in the midst of this global crisis, reflects the commitment of our alumni and friends to its vision of Penn State as a higher education leader,” said O. Richard Bundy III, vice president for development and alumni relations. “Our land-grant mission to serve the greater good has never had more meaning or more urgency, and philanthropy will be essential to fulfilling that mission. Over the past year, our supporters have helped us to both meet the challenges of the present moment and set in motion our vision for a brighter future."

The university also had its second-best year in history for receipts, with $290,309,868 in cash and equivalent gifts over the past year.

The Penn State Alumni Association finished the fiscal year with its highest membership number in five years and the third best in its history with 174,697 members

More than 81,000 supporter made their first gift to the university in 2019-20.

 



Geoff Rushton is managing editor for StateCollege.com. Contact him at [email protected] or find him on Twitter at @geoffrushton.
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