View of Storke Tower, bike path, UCen and lagoon at UC Santa Barbara

Enduring Generosity

In a landmark year for philanthropy to the campus, UC Santa Barbara raises $180 million in new gifts and pledges

In what marks the best fundraising year in campus history, UC Santa Barbara in fiscal year 2019 raised $180 million in new gifts and pledges. The university’s five-year annual fundraising totals now average $125 million, a 25% increase over prior years.

Also in 2019, the campus secured more endowed gifts than in any previous year. This level of funding, combined with positive market results, served to grow the university’s endowment by over 14% in a single year. The endowment now stands at $400 million.

These achievements affirm and bolster UC Santa Barbara’s value as an investment for donors.

“We are filled with gratitude for the tremendous generosity and partnership of our many donors, who have made possible this exciting milestone in philanthropic giving,” said UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “Such transformational gifts from our visionary supporters are paramount to furthering the excellence, diversity, innovation and creativity at our world-class research university — through investment in our stellar faculty, outstanding staff, and bright and diverse students, as well as in the creation of top living, teaching and research facilities on our campus.” 

More than ever UC Santa Barbara is receiving leadership gifts that are establishing new programs and transforming existing initiatives. Indeed, gifts of $1 million or more comprised $130 million of total dollars raised this past year. That includes an unparalleled donation of property, Las Varas Ranch, an 1,800-acre expanse of pristine, coastal land. Five additional gifts of more than $5-million each contributed significantly to the year’s exceptional fundraising totals.

The steadfast, generous philanthropy of UC Santa Barbara’s trustees, alumni, faculty and friends enhances areas across campus, from providing financial support to students to investing in research and discovery. Individual donors in 2019 made up the largest portion of dollars gifted, exceeding $100 million collectively. Corporate and foundation support were equal at approximately $30 million. While donations were gifted to numerous area of campus needs, research and programs were the greatest focus of support, at $75 million raised.

Planned and estate gifts continue to play a growing, critical role in campus fundraising and the university in fiscal year 2019 saw a 42% increase in new estate commitments over the previous year. It was the largest number of new commitments in a single year.

UC Santa Barbara alumni gave over $20 million in 2019, making up over 50% of donations. Several of these gifts were of $1-million or more and hundreds of younger alumni gave throughout the year. Giving from trustees of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation made up close to 10% of the annual totals with many adding the university to their estate plans.

“Motivated by our ongoing quest for excellence in all aspects of UC Santa Barbara, and inspired by the leadership provided by Chancellor Henry Yang and Foundation Executive Director Beverly Colgate and her development staff, we are extremely proud of our fundraising results for 2019,” said Richard Breaux’67, chair of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation Board of Trustees. “With deep appreciation to our many generous donors throughout the year, I am confident that the funds raised will play a significant role in our drive to be recognized as a world-class university.”

Among the year’s largest gifts, in addition to Las Varas Ranch, were a $9.5-million endowment for 11 new endowed chairs and additional funding of two other existing chairs, all in the College of Engineering; a $5.2-million gift to build a new intercollegiate tennis center; a $2.5-million gift to the men’s basketball program; and $3 million in funding for both the Institute for Energy Efficiency and for the UCSB Arts & Lectures community program.

“The campus continues to be truly grateful for the generous financial investment of our alumni and friends and inspired by the increasing level of annual donations,” commented Beverly Colgate, executive director of the UC Santa Barbara Foundation.


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