‘s fund-raising campaign nears $1.3 billion objective

by Andrew Johnson

Campaign Minnesota had raised $903 million as of Aug. 31 University of Minnesota Foundation officials announced, late last week.
The second major fund-raising drive in University history, officials hope to reach the campaign’s $1.3 billion goal by mid-2003.
The University passed the halfway mark for the campaign in January and is advancing on the ambitious goal steadily. When announced, it was the largest fund-raising effort of any school in the nation.
With three years remaining, the University has only about $400,000 left to go.
Announced almost a year ago, Campaign Minnesota has six priorities: research, service and outreach, faculty distinction, student success, facilities and libraries, and strategic opportunities.
Student success — an allotted $225 million of the fund-raising goal — includes undergraduate scholarships and financial support for graduate and professional students.
Undergraduate support includes merit-based awards designed to retain some of the state’s highest quality students, said Martha Douglas, University of Minnesota Foundation spokeswoman.
Tuition costs for graduate and professional students have doubled in the last 10 years, raising those students’ financial burden.
Funding for faculty distinction, which will garner $275 million of the total, will be used to secure more endowed faculty chairs, supplementing core funding from the state Legislature.
There is no quantified measure to make sure the University competes with other major research institutions, Douglas said. “We do need to be competitive so that we don’t lose faculty and graduate school students,” she said.
The Foundation’s Vice President of Marketing Linda Berg said officials are pleased with the campaign so far, although she admitted “a lot can happen … particularly with the economy” before the fund-raising drive’s completion.
Since 1996 — which included the campaign’s silent phase before its official beginning — Berg estimated 150,000 donors had contributed. Along with University alumni, she said corporations and foundations from across the country had made donations.
Those contributions are put to work immediately, Berg explained.

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