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Campus Sees 26 Percent Increase in Private Funding

September 25, 2013

UC Merced recorded $5.04 million in private gift and grant support from July 1, 2012, to June 30, 2013. That's an increase of 26 percent over the last fiscal year’s total of $3.98 million.

The percentage increase in private funding was far higher than the national average and exceeded the division's goal of $5 million. 

Across the nation, college and university fundraisers estimated that giving grew 7.1 percent for the 2013 fiscal year, according to survey results released in the most recent Council for Advancement and Support of Education Fundraising Index.

“An immense amount of work went into tightening up our fundraising efforts, looking at every opportunity to collaborate. This led to a substantial increase over last year,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said. “Despite the fact that it was a transitional year with a new vice chancellor on board, the Development and Alumni Relations team and the campus were able to really focus efforts on our newly approved fundraiser initiatives.”

Those initiatives, which were vetted with the campus’s academic leadership and will remain for five years, include increasing fellowships for graduate students, enhancing research culture and infrastructure, recruiting distinguished faculty, providing scholarships for undergraduate students and building upon the medical education initiative.

In 2012-13, support from first-time donors increased 38 percent over 2011-12.

Some of the major gifts include:

  • Margo Souza committed $1 million to establish The Margo F. Souza Leadership Center — a multi-faceted leadership program — housed within UC Merced’s Office of Student Life. The leadership center will encompass a wide-range of campus leadership initiatives, including the Margo Souza Entrepreneur-in-Training Track, and the Mentorship and Celebration Lunch.
  • Joel and Elizabeth Wallace leveraged the benefits of a planned gift of real estate to UC Merced. The Wallaces gave the campus $575,000 from the proceeds of a property sale to establish the Wallace-Dutra Amphitheater and the Yablokoff-Wallace Health Science Research Endowment, which will support the campus’s Community Research, Innovations and Solutions for the Health of the San Joaquin Valley Network (CRIS).
  • UC Merced received a $500,000 donation from San Francisco-based The Bernard Osher Foundation, which will support up to 10 Osher scholars annually. The scholarship will benefit incoming transfer students who have demonstrated a financial need and shown academic promise in community college.
  • A $450,000 pledge from the Walter S. Johnson Foundation to establish the Guardian Scholars Program will provide resources and support services to help former foster youth in Merced, Madera and Stanislaus counties transition and succeed in college.
  • ·Frederick R. and Mitzie Ruiz pledged $262,500 to help generations of students through the Rose R. Ruiz Endowed Scholarship and Fellowship Fund — named in honor of Fred’s mother. The endowed scholarship will support highly motivated undergraduate and graduate students who face obstacles. Fred Ruiz has served as a UC Regent since 2004.

“We could not do what we do without generous private support from our friends,” said Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations Kyle Hoffman. “Since arriving here, I’ve been so impressed with the fact that people have believed in the university since it was just a dream. They stepped up in the beginning in such a significant way, and they are continuing to support this campus.”

This year’s gifts bring UC Merced’s total to more than $87.5 million since it began accepting gifts in 1998. Additionally, as of July 31, 2013, the university’s endowment fund has reached $30 million.

“That is quite an accomplishment for a young campus,” said Hoffman, who has been involved in fundraising for 30 years. “What other university in the world has achieved what we have achieved in its first 10 years?”

To learn more about supporting UC Merced, visit makeagift.ucmerced.edu.