In the first year of the public phase of the Commit to Georgia Campaign, University of Georgia donors set a record in fundraising, contributing $227.8 million in new gifts and pledges. "When we launched the public phase of the campaign last fall, we called on our alumni and friends to help us expand the impact of this great university on the world," said President Jere W. Morehead. "Clearly, they are answering that call with extraordinary generosity and support, and it is with the deepest sense of gratitude that I say ‘thank you' for making gifts that are changing lives."
The goal of the Commit to Georgia Campaign is to raise $1.2 billion by 2020 to increase scholarship support, to enhance the learning environment, and to solve the grand challenges facing society. More than 68,000 donors contributed this year-another record-to reach an overall total of $827 million toward the campaign goal. Private giving toward the campaign already is making a difference: 115 need-based endowed scholarships, for example, have been created through the Georgia Commitment Scholarship program since its introduction in January. Most of these new scholarships will be awarded in the fall to incoming first-year students with unmet financial need. University officials believe that the first year of the public phase will produce the highest annual fundraising total with fluctuations up and down in the years to come.
The overarching goal of any campaign is to elevate annual fundraising levels for the long term. That is why officials are tracking the three-year rolling average-which is now 60 percent higher than FY13 at $185.2 million-to provide a better measure of sustained growth over time. "A successful fundraising year is always exciting, especially one of this magnitude," said Kelly Kerner, vice president for development and alumni relations and executive director of the UGA Foundation. "But, I'm most proud of the three-year rolling average, which is a clear sign of the culture change we're seeing around private giving at UGA. Our donors know that we are making a difference every day, and they want to be a part of the long-term impact of this special place."