In 1997, the University of Arizona and the University of Arizona Foundation set a bold goal for its Campaign Arizona: raise $1 billion in private contributions within eight years. "It seemed like so much money when the campaign began," explains UA president Peter Likins, but "our leadership team knew we could do it."
Today, more universities are directing their fundraising efforts to the private sector. However, UA is one of only about 20 institutions to approach, much less achieve, the billion-dollar milestone.
Alumni gifts led the way, but contributions were fairly evenly divided among alumni and non-alumni, followed by corporations and foundations. UA will use the funds for its academic divisions, research, capital projects, and financial aid.
UA is also solidifying what UA Foundation president Richard F. Imwalle calls "a culture of philanthropy." Private philanthropy matters because it is the revenue source with the greatest growth potential. In contrast, public budgets are being stretched thin by the high growth of entitlement spending, especially in the areas of K-12 education and health care.
As Likins puts it, "There is an unspoken consensus in America that public universities are going to have to be more and more on their own financially." UA is taking historic steps to reduce its reliance on state subsidies. Other Arizona universities can turn to their alumni, friends, and benefactors to accomplish the same.
- Arizona Daily Star: "UA campaign tops goal with $1billion+"
-University of Arizona Foundation: Campaign Arizona Report
- Phoenix Business Journal: "State universities turn to private-sector funding"
-Goldwater Institute: "The Privately Financed Public University: A Case Study of the University of Michigan"