Darden Raises $24.8 Million In Gifts and Pledges

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business today announced strong fundraising results for its 2012 fiscal year ended 30 June. Alumni, friends, corporations and foundations committed $24.8 million in gifts and pledges to support the School’s strategic priorities, making fiscal year 2012 the best year in the current capital campaign, which began in 2004. The school said the result represents a two-year increase of 126 percent.

The Darden Annual Fund, a critical component of Darden’s fundraising efforts, enjoyed its second consecutive year of record giving. Unrestricted cash contributions to the fund totaled $4.26 million — far surpassing the $4 million aspirational goal and the previous record of $3.5 million set in 2011. The unprecedented level of annual giving represents a two-year increase of 39 percent and a 10-year increase of more than 200 percent.

Darden alumni have one of the top five highest giving participation rates among the world’s leading business schools. Forty-two percent of Darden alumni made a gift to the School in fiscal year 2012, with 41 percent of alumni contributing to the Annual Fund. Seventeen alumni classes — two more than last year — achieved at least 50 percent participation in the fund.

The fund, which fuels approximately 5 percent of the operating expenses of the Darden Enterprise, is a vital source of momentum for important priorities that are having a transformational impact on Darden’s future.

Students and faculty also gave back in high numbers:

•87 percent of faculty made a gift to the School, the third consecutive year of comparable faculty giving participation

•100 percent of the MBA for Executives Class of 2012 and 99 percent of the MBA Class of 2012 took part in their class gifts — with both enjoying record-breaking totals ($50,834 and $128,668, respectively)

“In the challenging and fast-changing field of graduate business education, institutions able to reach financial sustainability through the generosity of highly devoted alumni and corporate partners will emerge as leaders,” said Darden’s Dean Robert F. Bruner in a statement. “At Darden, we have always enjoyed a loyal and tight-knit community. Now, more than ever, I am heartened by the way Darden stalwarts are stepping up — with not only their treasure but also their talent and time — to guarantee the School’s long-term impact and eminence on the global stage.”

“As a self-sufficient unit of U.Va., the Darden School depends in large part on private funds to support its goals and priorities,” said Trip Davis, president of the Darden School Foundation and senior associate dean for external relations, in a statement. “Darden’s philanthropic priorities include: student fellowships and financial aid; faculty support and curriculum development; infrastructure, experience and technology; and annual giving and unrestricted funds.”

In fiscal 2012, Darden received two dozen new, major commitments from donors toward these priorities. Individuals and family foundations created fellowships to attract the most talented students. The Stamps Charitable Foundation partnered with Darden to provide 26 new, full fellowships. Other donors offered financial aid support for students with military and diverse international backgrounds, contributed to professorships, supported the Center for Asset Management, and expanded Darden’s entrepreneurial presence through the W.L. Lyons Brown III Innovation Laboratory and the Darden Business Incubator.

Corporations stepped up their support of Darden this year, giving 12 percent of the School’s total philanthropic contributions through sponsorships and major gifts. Corporate giving, a major fundraising initiative for Darden, increased ten-fold to $2.6 million in fiscal year 2012. More than 30 corporations participated in Darden’s Corporate Sponsors Program. Additional funds came through employee matching gift programs. Major corporate support was directed toward the launch of a new research Center of Excellence at Darden, the Initiative for Business in Society (IBiS). To be guided by an advisory committee of chief executives and highly regarded thought leaders, the center aims to be the foremost global catalyst of thought, information and action on the role of business in society. Other major corporate gifts enhanced the student experience through direct support of student clubs and admissions recruiting events; sponsorship of conferences such as the University of Virginia Investing Conference and the Jefferson Innovation Summit; and support for case writing and research, which bolster faculty and curriculum development.

“We are truly grateful to each of Darden’s donors, who displayed their confidence in and dedication to the Darden School through philanthropy in fiscal year 2012, shattering records and setting a strong example for the years to come,” said Davis.

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