After 15 years in the automotive industry, including a career customizing hot rods, Joe Williams ’14 came to the University of California, Davis, to study brewing, then stayed on as a staff researcher. Now, Williams is UC Davis’ first endowed brewer, thanks to a $2 million gift from Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and his wife, Katie Gonser.
Williams’ story makes up only one of the countless lives changed by philanthropy at UC Davis during the 2016-17 fiscal year. Today, the university announced having raised more than $250 million during the fiscal year, making it the largest donation total in a single fiscal year in UC Davis’ 109-year history. This success builds upon the momentum of the previous fiscal year’s $226 million record-breaking total.
“This year’s outstanding fundraising success demonstrates our community’s enthusiasm for UC Davis and the important work accomplished here,” said Interim Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter. “These investments in the university will open new doors for our faculty, staff and students, support important infrastructure and programs, and help UC Davis grow as a global leader in addressing the most pressing challenges of our time.”
Private gifts and grants to UC Davis account for roughly 4 percent of the university’s overall budget. Donor-directed funds support students, faculty, staff, infrastructure, patient care, and universitywide priorities and opportunities that would otherwise not be possible.
“I would like to thank our alumni and donors for pursuing their philanthropic passions at UC Davis,” said Shaun Keister, vice chancellor of development and alumni relations. “Your unmatched generosity supports UC Davis’ excellence in research, creative work, health care and education, all of which greatly benefit our region and the world.”
Keeping up the momentum
Fundraising markers of success were up for the second year in a row at UC Davis.
There were 35,927 donors to the university this fiscal year, up nearly 2,300 donors from 2015-16. This increase is in part due to the university’s first-ever Give Day, themed “Every Aggie Counts: Together We Add Up,” a 29-hour event that helped UC Davis achieve record performance for annual giving this fiscal year. Give Day raised more than $1.2 million from 3,025 gifts and demonstrated that together, alumni, students, parents, faculty, staff, friends, and grateful patients and clients can make a huge difference.
Newsworthy gifts from this year include:
- The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis launched a new Family Caregiving Institute, dedicated to the well-being of those who care for others, with a $5 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation. Through the institute, nurse leaders aim to discover and disseminate knowledge to improve systems of support for caregivers.
- UC Davis Health received a $2.6 million gift from the estate of the late Robert H. Putnam to the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. The gift establishes the Robert H. Putnam Endowed Chair in Bipolar Disorders Research and the Dwight Swaback M.D. Bipolar Disorders Research Fund.
- Mentioned above, Ken Grossman of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. and his wife, Katie Gonser, presented the university with a $2 million gift to support the university’s renowned brewing science program. The gift establishes an endowment to provide ongoing funding for a full-time staff brewing position, focused on excellence in hands-on brewing education in the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology.
- Mohini Jain, philanthropist, retired teacher and longtime resident of Davis, made a $1.5 million gift to advance the study of Jainism, one of the world’s most revered and ancient philosophies. The gift will establish the Mohini Jain Presidential Chair for Jain Studies in the Department of Religious Studies as part of a larger effort to position UC Davis as a leader in the study of Indian religions and the interdisciplinary field of South Asia studies.
UC Davis alumni gave more than $30 million this year, of which nearly $14 million went to student support, making alumni the top donor group to support UC Davis students. Among the university’s 10 colleges and schools and other units, the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis Health and the School of Veterinary Medicine raised the largest amounts: $57.9 million, $57.1 million and $55.7 million, respectively.
“I am very proud of my fellow alumni as well as UC Davis parents and friends for this year’s incredible outpouring of support,” said UC Davis Foundation Chair Bruce Bell ’85. “Thanks to your generosity and partnership, UC Davis will continue to grow as one of the world’s best public research universities.”