‘Outsized Impact’

The campus raised more than $100 million in philanthropic gifts in fiscal year 2021; endowment hits new high

Helping the campus to assist students, bolster research, expand programs and create new opportunities, supporters of UC Santa Barbara responded resoundingly to the ongoing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic by raising $100,848,313 in fiscal year 2021.

This marks the seventh consecutive fiscal year that UCSB has raised at least $100 million; the annual average over that same seven-year period is $119 million. As of June 30, 2021, the university’s total endowment stood at $585.5 million, an all-time high for the campus.

“As we reflect on a year of unprecedented challenges for us all, we are in awe that our many supporters have maintained their visionary and generous giving to our campus, allowing us to not only weather the pandemic but also uphold our foundational commitment to reach new heights of academic excellence and diversity,” said UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry T. Yang. “This strong show of support during a time of great uncertainty is a wonderful reminder of how fortunate we are to be part of a university family that is so community-minded and kind-spirited.”

Yang added, “We are immensely grateful for the steadfast leadership and dedication of our UC Santa Barbara Foundation Trustees and Chair Betty Elings Wells, as well as all of our supporters, alumni and friends. Their care and concern for our community, especially since March of last year, encourage and sustain us.”

The COVID-19 pandemic continued to create unique needs for learning, teaching, research and health. Private giving supported a number of these needs, including the UCSB Community Food Security Initiative, which leveraged the university’s residential services kitchens and staff to prepare, package and deliver meals to county non-profit partners. The program was buoyed by generous donations that helped create over 250,000 prepared meals to aid the community.

With a continued and steadfast focus on generating student support, money raised for student scholarships, fellowships, awards and services surpassed $15 million this past year. These gifts included funds for student emergencies and laptops in order to ensure students had full and equal access to digital learning opportunities as remote instruction continued.

Under the leadership of chairperson Betty Elings Wells, the UC Santa Barbara Foundation Board of Trustees in 2019 set a two-year goal to raise $25 million in student support — they raised more than $27 million in that timeframe. The goal for trustee giving alone for student support in that two-year period was $4 million — they gave $6.9 million, $4.9 million of which was donated in the 2021 fiscal year.

“We set an ambitious goal to support our students, and I am grateful to all the donors who participated in making this a success,” said Wells. “I would like to thank all of the trustees for their support during this crucial period. Their generosity made an outsized impact in a difficult year.”

UC Santa Barbara received 25 leadership level gifts of $1 million or more in the last fiscal year, altogether exceeding $49 million and accounting for almost 50% of total funds raised. These included two foundation gifts of $5 million or more and several $1 million-plus gifts in support of student success.

Of these larger gifts, almost $46 million was donated by individuals, while $42 million came from foundations, about $9 million was contributed by corporations. Other organizations, including campus organizations, gave over $3 million.

Alumni giving comprised $26 million, or 26%, of total dollars raised — a significant increase over the past several years — marking the eighth straight year that UC Santa Barbara alumni contributed at least 10% of all funds raised. Alumni donors accounted for 48% of the total number of gifts received.

Planned and estate gifts play a critical important role in UCSB’s fundraising, which included 25 new legacy gift commitments this year. The campus recorded $8.7 million in committed and/or matured legacy gifts in that period.

Of the total dollars raised in fiscal year 2021, $67.8 million (67%) went to current spending, while $33 million, or 33%, went to the endowment. This marks an increase in endowed funds as a percentage of total dollars raised and is in line with a goal set in 2019 to raise more endowment dollars each year. Such funds are critical to ensuring future funding streams for faculty recruitment and retention, student support, research areas, and ongoing program and department needs. Two endowed chairs were established this year, at $1 million each, in quantum science and in interdisciplinary molecular biology.

Also among the year’s most significant gifts: $5.5 million to endow the Hellman Fellows program, providing research grants to junior faculty; $3 million to support the Climate Solutions Collaborative, a partnership of UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management and Conservation International; $3 million to fund undergraduate data science courses; and $2 million to create endowments for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships.

“In a year that saw many unforeseen challenges, our donors stepped up in monumental ways to help students in need, advance ground-breaking research and support the campus’s highest priorities,” stated Executive Director of Development Chris Pizzinat. “Their philanthropic investments create meaningful and lasting impact, and we are profoundly grateful for their commitment to UC Santa Barbara.”

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