The university recently exceeded its “Pride in Action” fundraising campaign goal of $110 million by more than $15 million. The campaign, which went public Oct. 2011, has raised $125 million.
Barbara Breier, vice president of University Advancement, said Texas State’s designation as an emerging research institution was a major boost to fundraising. This trend is reflected at other universities in the state vying for tier-one status.
Texas State became an emerging research institution Jan. 12, joining the likes of Texas Tech University, the University of Houston, the University of North Texas and the University of Texas at San Antonio, Dallas, Arlington and El Paso. The status, a step below tier-one, makes the universities eligible for additional funding in the form of the Texas Research Incentive Program.
According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the state-funded program awards matched funds to emerging research institutions. The funds depend on how much the university raises in private gifts and endowments to enhance research activities.
Breier said she was immediately able to see an increase in donations to the university after Texas State became an emerging research institution. She said since Jan. 12, approximately $17.7 million has been raised.
“The ability to go out to donors and tell them that their gift could be matched by the state with (incentive program) funding was a significant tool that allowed them to see their gift be leveraged,” Breier said.
Breier said the
Aaron Conley, vice president for Development and Alumni Relations for UT Dallas, said the university’s “Realize the Vision” campaign also saw an increase in donations because of the program.
“When we started going to potential donors and telling them that they could have another $750,000 in matching funds when they donate $1 million, that’s a very compelling case,” Conley said.
The “Realize the Vision” campaign, which started fall 2009, aims to raise $200 million by the end of 2014. Conley said approximately $120 million has been raised so far.
Texas Tech’s “Vision and Tradition” capital campaign began two years ago. It has raised about $925 million of its $1 billion goal, said Kelly Overley, vice chancellor for Institutional Advancement for Texas Tech.
“Our last campaign had a goal of $500 million. So, it was a bold decision to elevate our stature in the fundraising arena,” Overley said.
Overley expects Texas Tech’s capital campaign will finish ahead of schedule by the end of 2013.
Breier said it is possible Texas State could embark on a $1 billion fundraising campaign like Texas Tech’s, but it would take some time to get to that point.
“It’s a ways off for us,” Breier said. “I would say conceivably in about 10 years we could get to that level. It really depends on our alumni base.”
Increasing participation among the university’s more than 140,000 alumni is a major goal of Breier’s for the next two years. Texas State has a five percent alumni participation rate.
Marjie French, vice president of University Advancement for UTSA, said the average age of UTSA’s alumni base is 30 years old.
“We’re a very young university, and we really don’t have a mature fundraising program,” French said. “We’re pushing very hard to run a community-based campaign. So, I can’t tell how long it will be for us to be able to launch a billion dollar campaign.”
The “We are UTSA” campaign aims to raise $120 million by 2015, and has recently hit the $100 million mark, French said. Fundraising for the campaign began in 2009.
Breier said external funding is critically important to becoming a tier-one university.
“What philanthropy does is support excellence,” Breier said. “Those are the dollars we can’t get from state or federal grants.”
Breier said though the “Pride in Action” campaign has surpassed its fundraising goal, it will continue. Breir doesn’t want to make a prediction of how much money will be raised by the end of the campaign, but would rather focus on increasing alumni participation.