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Stanford Development Office has another good year

For the second year in a row, Stanford University has raised more than $300 million in its annual fundraising drive.

Contributions to Stanford in the 1996-97 fiscal year totaled $312.3 million, a $602,000 drop from last year, according to a report that was presented to the Board of Trustees on Oct. 6.

"This encouraging result was achieved in a year when receipts from bequests dropped precipitously from $53 million to just under $14 million, our lowest total in the last decade," John Ford, vice president of development, told the trustees. "Of course, bequest maturities is the one area of the development program that we readily admit we cannot influence in the short term," he joked.

Ford was pleasantly surprised by the results, which he predicted would be modest in comparison to last year's record-breaking total that was fueled, in part, by a large gift from David Packard's estate to complete the Science and Engineering Quadrangle.

"I thought we would come in somewhere under $300 million," he said.

While many factors worked in Stanford's favor to repeat last year's success, top among them was the rise of the stock market and the general health of the economy in California, Ford said. Stanford, he added, was well positioned to exploit those factors as it continued to emphasize annual giving programs and pursue key initiatives. One program targets raising an endowment to sustain at least 300 new graduate fellowships in the sciences and engineering.

In the past year, the Development Office raised $91 million in cash and another $26 million in pledges toward the $200 million endowment goal for the graduate fellowship program, Ford reported. "It was the single program that stimulated the gift totals," he said.

Other fundraising indicators remained strong across the board:

  • The total number of gifts received was 89,129, up 4 percent.
  • The number of donors totaled 52,844, up 6.5 percent.
  • Senior Gift participation increased again, from 58 percent to 62 percent.
  • 433 donors made gifts of $100,000 or more, an increase of 101 donors over last year's record. Forty-seven donors gave $1 million or more, an increase of 10 over last year.
  • For the first time in Stanford's history, gifts from living individuals (no bequests) exceeded $200 million.
  • Foundations contributed $57 million, setting a new record.
  • The current pledge balance increased 27 percent with the addition of $144.1 million in new pledges and broke the $200 million barrier for the first time.

Ford credits the development staff for staying focused on "a few important objectives" aimed at improving the academic program.

"If you don't have academic leadership providing you with the ideas that people can invest in, you aren't going to raise the kind of money we are raising," Ford said.

The Stanford Fund, for example, generated $6.1 million for undergraduate education, scholarships and student life, representing a 17 percent increase over last year's totals. Donor participation was stable at 34 percent. Ford attributes the lack of growth to the fact that the Stanford Fund didn't operate a calling program during the summer as it had done in previous years.

The President's Fund, which provides money to a wide-ranging number of innovative projects on campus that might otherwise lack funding, surged in donors and dollars during the past year, with 198 members contributing nearly $2.9 million. Donations to the President's Fund come from private supporters, each of whom must give a minimum of $10,000 annually. This year, the fund will support projects that range from renovating the Meyer Library Language Laboratory to preserving the quality of Stanford's faculty.

The schools also showed strong results, Ford reported. The Graduate School of Business received a total of $22 million, bettering its 1995-96 record year by 11 percent. The School of Humanities and Sciences raised $34.8 million, a new record for gifts received. Included in that total are endowments for 12 faculty positions, among them the deanship of the school.

The Law School campaign, with its new goal of $75 million, had reached $61 million at the end of 1996-97. The schools of Medicine and Engineering both experienced an increase in giving of more than 10 percent over last year. The Institute for International Studies made considerable headway securing commitments to renovate Encina Hall's East Wing. And the Hoover Institution launched a $75 million campaign, securing early commitments totaling $33.5 million.

Despite Stanford's success in fundraising in recent years, there continues to be mounting pressure to build the university's endowment to counteract decreasing federal support for higher education, Ford said. Endowment income covers only 12 percent of the university's annual expenditures, he explained. The remaining 88 percent must be raised on an annual basis.

Under President Gerhard Casper's leadership, approximately $400 million in new gifts for the endowment has been raised in the past five years, Ford said. A record $148 million in new endowment gifts, he noted, was received during the 1996-97 year.

While development officials will devote much of this year to completing their goals for the graduate fellowship program, Ford said his office will begin planning future fundraising efforts to help support undergraduate education.

"There have been a lot of new undergraduate initiatives that have been started in the last couple of years that are being funded right now with expendable gifts," Ford said. "What we are going to need to do is get permanent endowments for those programs."

Ford also mentioned the possibility of launching a fundraising campaign to support a significant number of undergraduate scholarships. "I expect we will have a pretty large dollar target for undergraduate scholarships as part of the whole [fundraising] initiative for undergraduate education," he said.

Another area the Development oOffice will turn its attention to in the coming year is the humanities, Ford said. "We've done quite well over the last five years raising money for the humanities quietly," Ford said. "But we see an opportunity to press for even more support more visibly." SR

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