UC Davis endowment reaches $1 billion in record-breaking year of giving

Four women standing in line for their photo
Graduate students included in the inaugural class of the UC Davis Guardian Professions Program are (from left) Eden Haven-Martinez, Michelle Dean, Destiny Garcia and Cindy Preto. Not shown is Hen Werner.

The University of California, Davis, announced today (Sept. 22) its total endowment fund has reached $1 billion. Fewer than 100 universities in the nation have endowments of $1 billion or more, and only three other schools within the University of California system hold this accomplishment.

“Obtaining an endowment of $1 billion helps provide our university with a perpetual source of support. With this we will build our future as a leading university committed to finding solutions to the most pressing issues facing our world,” Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi said. She made the announcement in her annual Fall Convocation address on campus this morning. “On behalf of our entire university, I would like to thank our alumni and donors for their partnership in helping us realize this accomplishment and for their enduring commitment to UC Davis.”  

The 2014-15 philanthropic total was $184,180,960, which is more than an 11 percent increase from the previous fiscal year’s philanthropy total, which was $165,704,177. It also marks the ninth consecutive year that UC Davis' fundraising total exceeded $100 million. This success comes on the heels of the conclusion of the university’s $1 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign, through which donors directed $282.5 million to the university’s endowment.

“It is not unusual for a university to experience a decline in fundraising after the conclusion of a major campaign. But our success this year shows UC Davis is an exception to that rule,” said Shaun Keister, national fundraising expert and vice chancellor of Development and Alumni Relations. “Our university’s commitment to solving society’s most pressing challenges provides our donors with myriad opportunities to fulfill their philanthropic passion while making a tremendous difference in the world.”

Newsworthy gifts from the year include:

  • The late Ann E. Pitzer ’58 donated $5 million to name the Ann E. Pitzer Center, a new classroom and recital hall. The 17,000-square-foot building, scheduled to open in 2016, is the first building on the UC Davis campus to be named in honor of a female graduate.
  • UC Davis launched the nation’s first program dedicated to helping former foster youths earn graduate and professional degrees, thanks to a $450,000 gift from the Stuart Foundation and donations from individuals. The Guardian Professions Program provides students with access to a support network of UC Davis staff members who offer guidance as the students apply for and pursue graduate degrees in any of the 94 graduate programs or professional schools at UC Davis.
  • Through the George and Lena Valente Foundation, Lynn and Keith Volkerts made a $1 million pledge to help fund autism research and expand advocacy of assistance to families in need of services. The Volkerts, who are Sacramento residents, were inspired to make the gift after their two granddaughters were diagnosed with autism and began beneficial treatments at the UC Davis MIND Institute.

By the numbers

UC Davis alumni and other individuals contributed 43 percent of the fundraising total, and 20 donors made gifts of $1 million or more during the 2014-15 fiscal year. Among the university’s 10 colleges and schools and other units, the UC Davis Health System raised the largest amount — $55.6 million — with the largest of that sum, $17 million, being directed to the UC Davis Health System Eye Center.

“To my fellow alumni, I would like to thank you for your support of the university that gave us all so much,” said Mike Child ’76, chairman of the UC Davis Foundation Board of Trustees. “I also want to impress upon you that our continued involvement, partnership and support is critical, if UC Davis is to achieve the global recognition that its students, faculty and staff deserve.”

Gifts came from donors in all 50 states and included $109 million from Californians. Outside of California, the most gifts came from Washington residents, and the largest dollar amount came from New York residents. Within California, $26.2 million came from Sacramento County, $14.9 million from Yolo County, $14 million from the city and county of San Francisco, and $9.7 million from Alameda County. International contributions totaled $3.2 million, with the largest amount coming from South Korea, followed by Japan.

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.

Media Resources

Karen Nikos-Rose, Research news (emphasis: arts, humanities and social sciences), 530-219-5472, kmnikos@ucdavis.edu

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