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RU Fund-Raising Up Year-over-Year Despite Battered Economy

RADFORD -- Radford University received more than $3.7 million in philanthropic gifts and pledges as a result of fund-raising operations conducted during the 2009 fiscal year, according to a report RU Vice President for Advancement Cathy Greenberg made to the Radford University Board of Visitors during its quarterly meeting September 9-10. The total represents a substantial increase over the prior year when $2.2 million was donated to the university, she said.

Two million dollars of those gifts were “cash-in” and $1.7 million were pledges, according to Greenberg, who noted that gifts from university faculty and staff and from corporations and foundations rose during the fiscal year.

Radford’s experience contrasts with expectations for philanthropic support for colleges and universities that were formulated by the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE). CASE had predicted through a biennial forecasting tool known as the CASE Fundraising Index that institutions would realize an average decline in giving of 3.9 percent for the 2008-2009 year. CASE officials have predicted that giving will rise about 2.5 percent during the 2009-2010 year. This contrasts with a 20-year period in which giving to colleges and universities increased by about 7.1 percent per year.

“I’d like to express our sincere gratitude to everyone who chose to express their love and support for Radford University through their generous gifts,” said Radford University President Penelope W. Kyle. “I think this news clearly demonstrates that our faculty, staff, alumni and friends believe in Radford and are willing to invest in our future.”

Increasing private support for the university is a critical priority for RU, according to President Kyle, who noted that long-term declines in state support for public higher education have been magnified by what has been termed the worse economic downturn since the Great Depression. Universities must work diligently and creatively to find ways to develop additional sources of financial support in this funding environment, she said.

“If Radford University is going to go where we all want it to go, in terms of growth and quality,” she said, “we must build this critical revenue stream. We must continue to make our case for philanthropic support to the people, corporations and institutions that value what we do here at RU and who believe in our future.”

Donor gifts were earmarked for a variety of uses at the university, according to Greenberg. Of the resources targeted for current operations, about 24 percent was designated for unrestricted uses, 39 percent went toward academic divisions and programs, 23 percent went toward student financial aid programs, four percent went toward athletics, and nine percent was devoted to other needs.

Radford has recently hired new fund-raising professionals and established a number of new donor recognition and stewardship programs, including the “Radford Society,” which recognizes donors who contribute $1,000 or more per year.

Sept. 17, 2009
Contact: Jeffrey Douglas (jdouglas@radford.edu; 540-831-5803)

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