September 19, 2002

University Rated Third In Amount of Donations

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Cornell received $363 million in donations this past fiscal year, the largest amount in cash donations the University has ever collected.

The $363 million places Cornell third behind Harvard ($477.5 million) and Stanford ($450.8 million) in donations received this year.

“Even though Harvard was number one, they dropped by 31 percent in total dollars and Yale dropped by 33 percent, while Cornell increased 26 percent,” said Laurie Robinson, director of development.

Out of the ten schools in Cornell’s peer group — the Ivy League, MIT and Stanford — Cornell lead with the largest amount of cash gifts placed by alumni. Cornell alumni raised $10 million more than Yale alumni, who came in second to Cornell’s $159 million, according to Robinson.

Cornell has seen a general increase in cash donations collected in the last five years. In 1998, Cornell received $253.3 million in cash gifts.

Last year, Cornell collected $309.1 million in cash donations. Although Inge Reichenbach, vice president of alumni affairs and development, said she expected a downturn in giving due to the recession, she commented that the increase in giving reflects the commitment of the alumni.

“We were most fortunate to be so successful this year given the stress on the nation’s economy — a stress that is particularly evident in New York,” said Henrik N. Dullea ’61, vice president for University relations.

“The people who have sufficient money to make such major gifts are less sensitive to the market than many of the people with smaller investments portfolios because they have much greater wealth and usually have much better market information,” said Ronald Ehrenberg, the Irving M. Ives professor of industrial and labor relations and economics.

Steve Ashley ’62, one of Cornell’s foremost donors, said that the $363 million ia great success for Cornell.

“I give and I think others give because they feel very good about the direction the University is going in and about the initiatives and the excitement that exists on campus with administration, the deans, the faculty and most importantly the students,” Ashley said.

Of the $363 million collected this year, 44 percent came from alumni and 32 percent came from parents and friends, while the remaining gifts were donated by foundations and corporations, according to Dullea.

The Board of Trustees Committee on Alumni Affairs and Development works in tangent with the president and the provost to determine the University’s priorities and to increase potential donors’ awareness of where donations are most needed, according to Robinson.

“Several years ago, we had a major campaign for scholarship endowment that raised $220 million for undergraduates,” Robinson said.

Both Dullea and Robinson said they expected this year’s donations to go toward all of the colleges in the University.

In the past, the donations have also gone toward supporting faculty, financial aid, campus beautification and student services.

“Of the $363 million [collected this year], $110.7 million will go to the endowment and $252.3 million will go for current purposes across all the colleges and administrative units,” Dullea said.

Over 48,560 individuals contributed to the $363 million collected this year and Cornell also has had the largest year ever in terms of cash gifts $1 million and over, with collection amounting to $217.5 million from cash gifts of at least $1 million, Robinson said.

Archived article by Janet Liao