University donors step up, set private giving record
University of South Carolina donors who include alumni, staff, students, faculty, friends, corporations, and foundations rallied strongly to support the University’s fund-raising effort in 2008-09, resulting in a new private giving record of $107.5 million.
Funds were raised between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009. The number of donors also rose to an all-time high of 46,469. Nationally, charitable giving to education dropped about 6 percent in 2008, the steepest decline since 1956, according to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
The new fund-raising total follows closely in the footsteps of the University's previous private giving record of $106.2 million for 2007-08. Unprecedented private support in consecutive years shows that despite a major recession, donors value the University’s ability to provide world-class education for students on its eight campuses.
The $107.5 million benchmark included significant increases in program enhancements that fund research and outreach, and continuing trends showing yearly increases in first-time donors and online gifts. Donor support is used to endow scholarships, fellowships, endowed chairs, and professorships; to enhance programs by providing gifts such as technological improvements; to fund new academic facilities and programs; and for many other purposes. Private giving allows universities to continue their development and growth during a period of decreased federal and state funding.
"This level of support from South Carolina’s alumni and friends is a true measure of the esteem and loyalty they hold for our institution,” said University President Harris Pastides. “I am especially gratified that in the midst of the most difficult economic downturn in decades, the University’s friends have stepped up and supported the University’s core mission of teaching, research, and outreach on every campus. This speaks volumes about the bedrock foundation we have to build upon for Carolina’s future.”