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Fundraising Digest Weekly 

June 19, 2013



Top Five Gifts This Week 


$35 Million gift from Jack Miller to Hope College. The gift will be used for construction of a music complex that will be serving as a concert venue, as well as community organizations. (MLive, June 18, 2013).


$20 Million gift from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to the new Future of Nursing Scholarsprogram. The gift will help to support some of the country's best and brightest nurses as they pursue their PhDs. (RWJF News, June 14, 2013).


$20 Million gift from the Paul and Stacy Jacobs Foundation to the University of California, Berkeley. The gift will be used to plan the institute's educational activities, which focus on immersing design throughout the engineering curriculum. (San Francisco Business Times, June 18, 2013).


$19.2 Million gift from the Caterpillar Foundation to Opportunity International. The gift will help provide financial products and services to 16.7 million people in countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America through 2017. (Opportunity International, June 14, 2013).


$5 Million gift from Coach to the Campaign for the High Line. The gift will support the expansion of the High Line and help ensure its security for the future. (High Line, June 14, 2013).



Campaign Updates    


McGill University announced it has raised $1 billion in its capital campaign, exceeding its goal by $250 million and setting a record for Canadian institutions.  (Montreal Gazette, June 18, 2013).


The Path Foundation has reached its $14.3 million goal in its Make the Connection fundraising campaign thanks to an anonymous donor. With them reaching their goal, they will be enabling PATH to establish Atlanta's trail hub by adding 37 addition trails at Centennial Olympic Park.(Curbed Atlanta, June 18, 2013).  

The American Dance Festival announced a $3 million comprehensive fundraising campaign. They have already raised $1.8 million towards the campaign. (The Herald Sun, June 14, 2013).   


A major fundraising campaign is seeking to raise $3.85 million by April 2014. The campaign is to renovate the Marshalltown High School Roundhouse. (Times Republican, June 17, 2013).


Denton Cooley, M.D., makes a major gift to the Texas Medical Center Library. The gift will start of the library's new $22 million capital campaign, Library without Limit, which will fund a complete, major renovation of the library's interior. (TMC News, June 17, 2013).


Top News This Week   


Oxfam set a $53 million goal to aid victims of Syria's brutal civil war but raised but raised less than $150,000 in their fundraising effort. (Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2013).


Trinity College Dublin is partnering with Google to develop a new project aimed at transforming computer science in Irish schools.  Google is undertaking the partnership to mark 10 years in Ireland and will provide €1.5million in funding to the ground-breaking transformative project.(Trinity College Dublin, June 14, 2013).   


College's Corporate Matching Gift Initiativenow enables top Bahamian companies to match its employee's donationThe Matching Gift Initiative not only doubles the dollar impact of donations from participating companies, it also entices donors to increase their own contribution. (The Bahamas Weekly, June 17, 2013).


American Airlines agrees to continue its Pets and Wings program in collaboration with the Humane Society of St. Thomas-St. John in the Virgin Islands. The programallows travelers on American Airlines to chaperone a local shelter animal from the US Virgin Islands to another shelter in the United States. (PR Newswire, June 17, 2013).


Fitness queen, Jean Hughes has been awarded the British Empire Medal as reward for 41 years of fundraising. She has been running keep-fit classes at Wordsley Community Centre and during that time has staged countless fundraising events from barn dances and fun runs to discos, raffles and fish and chip suppers. (Stourbridge News, June 17, 2013).


The founder of Best Buy, Richard Schulze is donating about half of his net worth to a family foundation. He plans to gradually expand the size of his $100 million family foundation to about $1 billion and donate most of the money in hopes of "meaningful, transformational change," primarily in K-12 education and medical research. (Star Tribune Business, June 18, 2013).



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Not High Enough?    


Did you ever hear a Gold Medal Olympic leap described as "hardly any farther than last year"? 


That seems to be the attitude of those covering the newest report on American philanthropy. 


"Donations Barely Grew at All Last Year," bemoaned the Chronicle of Philanthropy.  "Slow fundraising growth in 2011 comes nowhere near to erasing record historic losses-the deepest ever recorded in the report's five decades-caused by the recession."


That's right.  Americans could only scrounge together a measly $316.23 billion to give to charity in 2012, according to the latest edition of Giving USA.  A 3.5% increase over the previous year.  Just 1.5% if adjusted for inflation. 


True, we are still 8% off the high water mark of $344.5 billion in estimated private giving reached in 2007.  But this is just one of four years we have exceeded $300 billion in private philanthropy in US history.  And the second highest total ever as well!


But this type of coverage speaks more to our mood than the reality of giving in America.  In fact, looking back just a few years finds a very different view of more modest gains in philanthropy.


For example, after the release of Giving USA in 2003, AFP wrote that "giving in 2003 increased by a relatively robust 2.8 percent from the revised level of $234.09 billion in 2002." They added, "since 2001, total annual giving had grown, on average, by only 0.5 percent each year."


Now private giving has increased $82.14 billion, or 35%, over the previous decade. That should be a cause for celebration, not hand-wringing.


What may be most remarkable about this growth in private philanthropy is that it occurred when the majority of Americans are still clawing their way back from economic catastrophe.


Just look at two important statistics:  home values and household income.


The average home sales price in December 2002 was $237,800.  In December of 2012 it was just $231,400. 


Median household income didn't fare much better.  In 2012, the figure was $42,409.  In December 2012, it is estimated to have been just about $50,000.


In short, most families aren't earning much more than a decade ago.  And their primary asset is worth less in real dollars today than it was a decade ago.  But they are giving at near record levels.


So, what is driving this phenomenal growth in giving? 


First, the growth in securities values among America's top wealth holders.  Second, reinvigorated fundraising programs. 


As the Chronicle rightly reports, "donors have made nine gifts of $100-million or more in the first five months of the year...that's already more than the seven gifts of at least $100-million that were made all year in both 2009 and 2010..."


As consultant Michael Rosen notes in "What You Really Need to Know about Giving USA 2013,"  "Giving by taxpayers who itemize their gifts represented 81% of the total donated by individuals in 2012." 


And who is itemizing their taxes?  While fewer than 20% of those earning under $50,000 itemize, over 93% of those earning over $200,000 do so. 


In short, 82% of the $316 billion in giving comes from individuals earning over $50,000.  And, based on everything we see in every single major fundraising drive over the last hundred years, the majority of the dollars come from a small percentage at the very top of the income/wealth ladder.


Why is it so important to restate this obvious fact? 


Because many organizations are trying to "make innovations in how they attract gifts and diversify their sources of revenue," according to the Chronicle of Philanthropy.  Or, as they put it more bluntly, "even the most prominent nonprofits aren't relying solely on the very rich to shore up their fortunes."


Fundraising innovation is always a positive development.  All offices should be looking into new and better ways of building relationships with both traditional and new audiences.  Nonprofits need both broad and deep support.


But make no mistake.  The recovery is already here.  And it is again being driven by the wealthy, just as it has over the last decade.  And arguably over the last century as well. 


Their decision to give, however, doesn't just happen of its own accord.  It is the direct result of fundraising and the best practices undergirding it.  So while charities are right to explore the best ways of working with all Americans, they should be especially aware that the boom in philanthropy continues to be in major gifts.



 Top Development Jobs

Stetson University College of Law in Florida is recruiting for a Major Gift Officer.  Details here.


CFY in New York City is looking for a Director of Development.  Details here.


Handicap International UK in London is searching for a Fundraising Assistant.  Details here.


Butler University in Indiana is on the lookout for a Data Analyst for their Development Office.  Details here.


University of California, Riverside is seeking a Senior Prospect Research Analyst.  Details here.


University of Arizona Foundation is recruiting for a Prospect Management Coordinator. Details here.


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