Return on Investment

UC Santa Barbara reaches $100 million in fundraising for fourth straight year; receives more single donations than ever

Thousands of new donors and a $100 million year. For the fourth consecutive fundraising year, UC Santa Barbara in the 2017-18 fiscal year raised $100 million in gifts and pledges — a testament to the strength of the university’s relationships with alumni, parents, staff and faculty, and friends.

Such sustained fundraising levels also reflect the value of UC Santa Barbara as an investment. The campus received more single donations this year than ever — 14,000 of them in total.

“As we mark another successful year for philanthropic giving, we are overwhelmed and inspired by our many supporters, whose generosity and vision continue to advance the excellence and diversity of this great institution we all love,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “From our long-standing supporters to our first-time donors, our strong and enthusiastic network enriches UC Santa Barbara’s stature in frontier research, exceptional teaching and far-reaching public service.”      

Yang added, “We take this opportunity to recognize the dedicated leadership of UC Santa Barbara Foundation Chair Richard Breaux and the outstanding work of all our trustees, as well as all of our other supporters.”  

Six years ago, UCSB was averaging $50 million in annual fundraising, but with a deep commitment to building and nurturing donor relationships — an effort led by Chancellor Yang and the UC Santa Barbara Foundation Board of Trustees — the campus is now reaping rewards that will ensure it thrives into the future.

Among the highlights of 2017–2018 fundraising are 20 leadership gifts of $1 million or more — altogether accounting for close to $40 million — underscoring the importance of large gifts to growing totals and, still more crucially, to transforming the campus and fostering excellence across the board.

These philanthropic contributions support a myriad of areas, including student scholarships, fellowships and awards; endowed chairs to recruit and retain faculty; capital projects for both academic and student activities; and cutting-edge research. Some of this essential support came through donor-inspired matching gifts, challenging many new donations from others.

Of the $100 million raised, $21.4 million was designated to establishing or increasing endowment funds. The UC Santa Barbara endowment, so critical to supporting the university’s future, is currently at an all-time high of $350 million, generating nearly $20 million annually for campus programs.

“Under the direction and leadership of Chancellor Yang, UC Santa Barbara has built a reputation as a world-class university,” said Richard Breaux ’67, chair of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation Board of Trustees. “Excellence is expensive, and the university has worked diligently to raise funds for its programs, buildings, endowed chairs, and students. Individuals, corporations and philanthropic trusts have all demonstrated a willingness to invest in this excellence and in the future, for which we are very grateful.”

UC Santa Barbara in 2018 held its second Give Day, a 24-hour digital fundraising drive meant to unite its many communities, engage donors and spark donations. It succeeded on all fronts, raising $5,695,951 from 1,511 donors in just 24 hours.

“Of Give Day 2018 donors, 50 percent were alumni and 40 percent were new donors to the campus,” said Beverly Colgate, UCSB’s Associate Vice Chancellor for Development. “The ability to attract thousands of new donors is further evidence of UC Santa Barbara’s reputation as a top-tier research university committed to solving real world problems and educating the next generation of leaders — and of the power of people investing in people.

“This year donations from individuals exceeded both corporate and foundation giving, a ratio that changes each year,” Colgate added. “Through our focus on involving more alumni, parents and friends in giving back to campus, we raised close to 50 percent of all funds from individuals. This is very exciting and motivating, as this generosity allows us to create lasting relationships for future gifts and further involvement for campus.”

Boosting alumni giving has been a core focus for UC Santa Barbara. Fiscal year 2018 marks the fifth straight year that philanthropy from alumni accounts for 16 percent of total dollars donated, thanks in part to 31 alumni gifts of $100,000 or more.

Top donations to the campus last year include a $5 million estate gift supporting endowments for both visual arts and the university’s Art, Design & Architecture Museum, another $4.7 million for ocean science and $1.04 million to support research tackling environmental challenges. A $1 million gift will support undergraduate marine science students; while a separate $1 million donation will create two endowed chairs in the College of Engineering. A special $2.7 million in a realized bequest will support students in earth science.

Each year, special emphasis is placed on securing planned or legacy gifts. In fiscal year 2018 the campus received $10 million in realized and committed planned/estate gifts. To date there are $154 million in legacy expectancies promised to UCSB.

Share this article