Donations to the U increase for third year

Most donations have gone to scholarships and initiatives in the sciences.

Emma Nelson

Donations to the University of Minnesota increased 10 percent this year to a total of $244 million.

The donations, in the form of outright gifts and future commitments, came from more than 78,000 donors in fiscal year 2012, contributing to the third year-over-year increase in a row.

The increase may mark a rebound from economic recession, said Martha Douglas, spokeswoman for the University of Minnesota Foundation.

But she said there’s no one reason for the increase. Significant increases are primarily driven by large gifts, she said, which could just be a matter of timing.

Despite the increase, 2012 was not a record year. Fiscal years 2008 and 2009 both saw increased donations, with 2008 setting a record of $289 million.

Initiatives in the sciences — including pharmaceutical development and new teaching facilities for the health sciences — attracted major funding in 2012.

“Everybody can relate to research and discovery in some of those fields that influence our own lives,” Douglas said.

Contributions for student scholarships also increased due to President Eric Kaler‘s emphasis on student support, Douglas said.

“Those kinds of broad University messages help our efforts a lot,” Douglas said.

Unlike science and research, student support is an area that attracts donations across a variety of levels, Douglas said. In the coming year, the foundation will make an increased push for scholarship donations.