Penn State continues to break fundraising records despite economy

DuBois, Pa. — For the first time in its history, Penn State has received more than $200 million in cash gifts from alumni and friends in a single fiscal year, and a record number of donors committed their support to the University during the same period. The announcement came Friday (July 9) in an annual report to the Board of Trustees by Peter Tombros, volunteer chair of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students.

"This has been a challenging, exciting, and highly successful year for the campaign," said Tombros. "We will have to work hard to maintain our momentum and share the student-centered vision of For the Future with a wider audience, but our results in 2009-10 are inspiring and encouraging."

During the past fiscal year, the University received $203 million in support from alumni and friends, and new commitments to the campaign totaled $274 million, reflecting gifts from a record 185,183 donors. Tombros noted that these figures include support that pushed the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital past its fundraising goal of $65 million for a new state-of-the-art facility; a gift of $10 million from longtime philanthropic leaders Harold and Inge Marcus for interdisciplinary research; and 15 new endowments for faculty.

"These results would be impressive in any year, but we are especially grateful for the loyalty and generosity of our supporters during the continuing economic downturn," said Penn State President Graham Spanier. "Thanks to philanthropy, the University and our students are thriving, and gifts to the campaign will give us financial strength for the future."

The global economy has had an impact on Penn State's grassroots fundraising, Tombros noted. The total number of alumni donors dropped slightly, from 77,658 in 2008-09 to 76,146 this past year. Giving at the highest levels remained strong, however, and Tombros reported that since the counting for the campaign began on Jan. 1, 2007, more than $1.031 billion has been secured toward the goal of $2 billion in new support by June 2014.

"The past year has set a new standard for philanthropy at the University, and we must challenge ourselves to maintain and surpass that standard in the years ahead," said Tombros. "Our graduates have the potential to be the best of the best, and so does our institution. The success of For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students will be essential to fulfilling that potential."

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Last Updated November 18, 2010