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Feature

Four studens sitting on a patch of grass.

Generous donors are looking out for University of Minnesota students. The number of people giving to student scholarships and fellowships has increased by 18 percent--and is more than twice what it was 10 years ago--since the U launched the Promise of Tomorrow Scholarship Drive in 2003.

Donors give $180 million to U

From eNews, September 15, 2005

The number of donors giving to the University of Minnesota reached a new high in fiscal year 2005, with 92,741 donors making gifts and pledges totaling $180 million. This includes a record 51,145 alumni donors, or 8 percent more alumni giving back to the University than in fiscal year 2004.

"We have had a steady increase in the number of alumni donors in recent years, reflecting in part increased efforts to reach out to them and engage them in supporting the U," says Gerald Fischer, president and chief executive officer of the University of Minnesota Foundation (UMF).

The UMF, founded in 1962, is an independent nonprofit organization that tracks and reports gifts to all University of Minnesota campuses, colleges, and departments, including gifts made through other University foundations.

The $180 million is an increase of 24 percent in giving compared with fiscal 2004. It includes gifts made through the Minnesota Medical Foundation to the Medical School and the School of Public Health. The Minnesota Medical Foundation ended the fiscal year with its highest annual fundraising total ($78.3 million) and the largest number of donors (22,738) since it was founded in 1939.

Student scholarships and fellowships were a particularly strong area of giving to the University. This area has been the University's top fund-raising priority since the close of Campaign Minnesota in July 2003 and the launch that same year of the Promise of Tomorrow Scholarship Drive. The number of donors giving to scholarships and fellowships has increased by 18 percent since the scholarship drive began and is more than twice what it was 10 years ago.

Money for students

The University of Minnesota Foundation will provide a progress update for the Promise of Tomorrow Scholarship Drive later this month. You can check its Web site for the update. Also, October will once again be Scholarship Month on University campuses, to draw attention to the continuing need for student support.

"We are committed to increasing the amount of support available to our students in a variety of ways," says University president Bob Bruininks. "[And] I have been gratified by the response we've received from alumni and friends."

The $180 million includes cash gifts and pledges, as well as other future commitments such as bequests and trusts. Donors designate how they want their gifts to be used, with only about 2 percent each year being unrestricted. In fiscal 2005, a large percentage of the gifts were designated for endowment, which means that the funds are invested and increase over time, providing long-term funding for the designated programs.

"Endowed faculty and research funds provide stability for long-term research, and endowed scholarships and fellowships create a cumulative benefit in the numbers of students we can support over time," says Bruininks. "A strong endowment will be key to achieving our aspiration to be among the top three public research universities in the world."

To learn more about giving to the U, see the University's giving site.

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