When civil engineering student Tadewos Getachew ’19 was a little boy, he witnessed resource scarcity firsthand in Ethiopia. Now, he is able to pursue his dream to study water resources and solar energy at the University of California, Davis, in large part due to the AvenueE program, which is funded by philanthropy. The program provides engineering and computer science students with funding and a smooth transition from California community colleges to UC Davis. Getachew is just one of many students and others whose lives have been positively changed by the generosity of donors.
The 2017-2018 fiscal year made many more of these stories possible, from artistic performances to patient care to improvements in infrastructure. UC Davis raised more than $230 million from 36,645 donors, and the university also saw an 8.37 percent increase in the number of total gifts given over the fiscal year. Many colleges, schools or units saw record-breaking years, including the College of Biological Sciences, School of Law, School of Education, Library, Athletics, UC Davis Health, and Annual and Special Gifts.
“The success of this year’s fundraising efforts, including an 8 percent increase in the number of gifts over last year, shows that the UC Davis community is committed to providing a world class academic experience in service to the public good,” said Chancellor Gary S. May. “I thank all who contributed to make sure our students, faculty and staff have access to exceptional opportunities, which benefit the entire UC Davis community.”
Making a difference through philanthropy
Newsworthy gifts from this year include:
- A $3.3 million commitment to the UC Davis Library — The gift from the Winiarski Family Foundation will help the library build the world’s most comprehensive collection on wine writers. It will preserve and increase access to the library’s existing collection and support the acquisition of the works of other wine writers, who influence both the wine industry and public appreciation of wine.
- A $2.3 million gift to the UC Davis MIND Institute — From the Azrieli Foundation, a foundation in Canada that has helped launch several major neurodevelopmental research initiatives in that country. The gift is the single largest in the MIND Institute’s 20-year history and will help create a large, international collaboration designed to leverage expertise and innovation around fragile X-related disorders such as fragile X syndrome. This condition is the most common known single-gene cause of autism.
- $750,000 to the UC Davis Coffee Center — From La Marzocco, a world leader in espresso machine innovation. The gift will help to fund a new Coffee Center building and to further coffee science research efforts at the university. The commitment represents the largest gift to date to the UC Davis Coffee Center.
- $1.8 million raised through UC Davis’ second annual Give Day — The record-breaking total was raised from over 4,000 total gifts. Give Day also amassed more than 1,400 new donors who made their first gift to UC Davis at the event and is in part responsible for the increase in total gifts to the university this year. On Give Day, the College of Letters and Science ($346,724; 298 gifts) and Athletics ($282,634; 1,917 gifts) topped the leaderboards.
“Our alumni and donors’ generosity allows UC Davis to be a world leader in innovative research in a variety of fields, and makes a daily difference in the lives of everyone the university touches,” said Shaun Keister, vice chancellor of development and alumni relations and president of the UC Davis Foundation.
The positive impacts of philanthropy could be witnessed on the Davis and Sacramento campuses this fiscal year. Some of the most notable changes include the Betty Irene Moore Hall grand opening on the UC Davis Health campus and UC Davis Athletics’ renovation of La Rue Field, home of the Aggie softball team. The first phase in a long-term plan to transform the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Center was also announced this past fall with a campaign called “Leading the Way.” This campaign seeks to improve three critical areas of the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Center: the Livestock and Field Service Center, the Equine Performance Center, and the All-Species Imaging Center.
“I am extremely proud of what we have accomplished,” said new UC Davis Foundation Chair Bruce West ’71, who started his term in July. “Thanks to the generosity of my fellow alumni, the leadership of my predecessor Bruce Bell, and UC Davis parents, employees and friends of the university, UC Davis will continue to be a national and international leader in solving the world’s most pressing issues.”