Last week, The University of Cincinnati joined the 1 percent.
Proudly Cincinnati took in $1 billion in a single, eight-year fundraising campaign — a feat only 1 percent of American universities have accomplished.
“We’ve now become one of those charities in Cincinnati that people want to give to, and want to be a part of,” said Francis Barrett, chairman of the UC Board of Trustees.
The Proudly Cincinnati campaign reached its fundraising goal four months ahead of schedule.
“Years, decades from now, when historians are unfolding the pages of UC’s history, two words will be said: well done,” said Otto Budig Jr., co-chair of the Proudly Cincinnati campaign. “Reaching the objective was not the end, but the beginning.”
Kathy Wolf, vice president of marketing, communications and employee relations at the UC foundation, said the campaign’s success derived from a culture of philanthropy at UC, and wants to support that culture in hopes of increasing donations in the future.
“This has set the table for future fundraising, we actually are ramping up,” Wolf said. “Our goal is to reach $125 million a year when the campaign is over, and we aren’t even making that now.”
The UC Board of Trustees discussed the possibility of launching another large-scale fundraising campaign in its meeting Tuesday, but will continue traditional fundraising regardless.
“Hitting this billion dollar milestone has helped us set the tone for what’s to come in the future,” Wolf said.
The university plans to finish out the end of its campaign on a high note, focusing on its strategic plan aimed at making the university a first-choice destination.
More than 91,000 donors contributed to the eight-year campaign started in July 2005, and UC President Santa Ono wants to reach 100,000 donors by June.
“Today does not mark the end of our fundraising efforts,” Ono said. “We will continue our efforts until July.”
About 57 million of the $1 billion came from UC faculty and staff, and one-third of the donations came from donors outside of the Greater Cincinnati area.
The money is primarily being used for scholarships, endowed chairs, upgrading current university facilities and creating new ones.
Donors have the option to give to specific causes they believe passionately in. In many cases, donors gave money to set up endowed chairs — university positions created and paid for through private donors. About $45 million donated for endowed chairs and professorships helped create 30 new endowed chairs.
About $101 million is committed to scholarships and financial aid, and about $37 million of that sum will create 479 new scholarships. Much of that scholarship money is already being awarded, and approximately 10,700 recipients of Proudly Cincinnati funded scholarships already graduated.
Donors also designated their contributions for new facilities geared toward their interests. The Cincinnati Cancer Center, the Alumni Engineering Learning Center, the Gardner Family Center for Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders, and the Sheakley Athletics Center were all created as a result of Proudly Cincinnati donors, among others.
Orville Simpson and the Lindner family are among the top donors to the university. The Lindner family donated about $40 million for the creation of the Lindner Center of HOPE. Simpson, founder of Victory City and local retiree, donated $10.2 million for urban planning.
Seeing the success of the Proudly Cincinnati campaign inspired optimism and gratitude in the UC administration.
“It … makes possible the American dream … it makes possible the dreams of every student and the dreams of faculty and staff,” Ono said. “We cannot overstate the gratitude we have to our support. I couldn’t be more proud than I am today.”