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Advancement Committee discusses fundraising successes and Clark Scholars program

The University saw a nearly 20 percent increase in financial commitments through April compared to the previous year

<p>The Advancement Committee is responsible for overseeing the University’s fundraising efforts and alumni affairs, including outreach events and capital campaigns.</p>

The Advancement Committee is responsible for overseeing the University’s fundraising efforts and alumni affairs, including outreach events and capital campaigns.

The Board of Visitors’ Advancement Committee discussed fundraising progress for the fiscal year so far at their meeting Thursday. Through April 30, the University stood at $535 million for total commitments, reflecting a nearly 20 percent increase from the previous year. Philanthropic cash flow, which measures actual gifts received as opposed to pledges for future support, stood at $314 million as of April, an increase of 8 percent from the previous year.

The Committee is responsible for overseeing the University’s fundraising efforts  and alumni affairs, including outreach events and capital campaigns. A main campaign that the Committee oversaw over the last few years was the Honor the Future campaign, which supports the University’s pillars of education, democracy and research. The University surpassed their $5 billion goal in December and as of April totals stood at $5.2 billion. 

“If [you] thought we were slowing down at all once we hit the 5 billion number, we are not,” Vice President for Advancement Mark Luellen said.

Luellen also said the University is continuing to focus on undergraduate alumni participation, with over 29,500 gifts from undergraduate alumni given this year so far. He said the University has a goal for 19 percent of undergraduate alumni participation in donations by the end of the year, and they currently stand at roughly 17 percent participation.

According to Luellen, the University is focusing on working with the Alumni Association and hosting more alumni events throughout the year to bolster this support from undergraduate alumni.

The Committee also discussed the history and purpose of the Clark Scholars Program, an undergraduate scholarship program which supports high financial need students through the School of Engineering and the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation. According to Dean of Engineering Jennifer L. West, the program provides engineering students with opportunities in business leadership, global experience and community service through leadership seminar courses, international trips and volunteer work with Madison House.

West said at the meeting that the program has been successful with a 100% placement at jobs within three months of graduation. 

“Looking at our students, these are very at-risk student populations, and yet they have been remarkably successful,” West said. “These kids have great futures in front of them and we thank the Clark Foundation for helping make that possible for these kids.”

The Scholars program began at the University of Maryland, but expanded to 11 schools that have partnered with the Foundation, including the University. The program began at the University in 2018, and this summer the University will welcome their seventh cohort of scholars.

The Committee also discussed other contributions to the University, with President Ryan acknowledging Board Rector Robert Hardie and his wife Molly Hardie’s contribution to the new football operation center —  a state of the art training facility which was opened Thursday. The Committee also discussed the Board’s plan to name the center after the couple at the Full Board meeting Friday. 

According to Ryan, the Hardies are both alumni of the University and have contributed to several areas of the University, including athletic scholarships, the Darden School of Business and the Miller Center. In 2019, the two donated $6 million to the Athletics Master Plan, which included the new football operations center.

“We believe great universities need great athletic programs and so we’re going to do everything we can in this changing landscape to support our athletic programs and to ensure that we continue to compete at the highest level,” Hardie said at the meeting. 

The Committee will reconvene when the Board meets again in September.

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