University to Start New Campaign Focused on Raising $400 Million for Financial Aid

On August 31, 2008, NYU closed the books on its seven-year “Campaign for NYU,” exceeding its $2.5 billion goal by over $500 million; as such, it is the largest completed campaign in US higher education. Tonight, NYU celebrates the completion of this landmark achievement at an event at The Plaza Hotel to honor donors.

In its final year, the campaign raised $862 million, one of the largest one-year totals in the history of higher education fundraising. The total raised through the campaign — $3,075,986,225 - was the equivalent of raising some $1.2 million per day, seven days per week, for the entire seven-year period. Among the campaign’s outcomes were:

  • the creation of 718 new scholarship/fellowship funds, and expanded resources for 412 existing scholarship/fellowship funds
  • the creation of 122 endowed professorships
  • The Partners Fund, led by a gift of $60 million from six trustees, to expand the Faculty of Arts and Science by 20% or 125 new positions. This included the recruitment of world class scientists in genomics, soft condensed matter physics, cosmology and particle physics, and molecular chemistry.
  • Expansion and renovation of the physical plant including the opening of the Joan and Joel Smilow Research Center at the Langone Medical Center, and the rehab of the Gallatin School of Individualized Study
  • The establishment of the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World

NYU’s fundraising will now be re-focused on a five-year effort to raise $400 million to be directed to endowment for financial aid. The income generated from these endowment funds - some $20 million per year - would be directed to NYU’s neediest students to narrow the gap between what a poor family can afford to pay and what NYU can currently provide in grants.

NYU President John Sexton said, “This is not simply a tale of an outstandingly successful fundraising effort. It is the story of the power of ideas: the idea that creating new knowledge is a powerful human endeavor; that enabling those less well-off to attend the college of their dreams benefits everyone; that thriving communities of scholars, teachers, and learners are crucial to our future. These ideas attracted people of great judgment and accomplishment, and their enormous and generous support of these ideas was a vote of ratification. On behalf of the University community, I want to express my deep gratitude to Joel Ehrenkranz, the campaign’s chair, and commend Debra LaMorte and her colleagues in the Office of University Development for their superb efforts. However, mostly I want to thank our thousands of donors for ensuring that NYU’s momentum will continue unchecked, and our successors will be able to create an ever greater university than the one we know.”

Martin Lipton, chair of the NYU Board of Trustees, said, “The success of this fundraising campaign is really a reflection of NYU’s general success. In stature, quality, and reputation, NYU has come so far since I was first associated with the University, it is really quite an extraordinary story. And these resources will enable it to advance even further. I congratulate John, Joel, and Debra on their achievement.”

Joel Ehrenkranz, a member of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Campaign, said, “It is sensational to see the impact of what we all have accomplished in this campaign, from our new faculty and facilities to the brilliant students who are attending NYU because of new scholarships. The Campaign brought our entire community together around this cause, including trustees, deans, faculty, staff, alumni, students, parents, and friends. Everyone at the University should feel proud of this achievement.

I congratulate my colleagues on the Campaign Cabinet-Martin Lipton, Jay Stein, John Sexton, and Debra LaMorte-and the outstanding leaders who served on our Campaign Steering Committee. I am deeply honored to have been part of this endeavor.”

Debra LaMorte, Sr. Vice President for University Development and Alumni Relations, said “People believe in NYU - in its leadership, in its direction, in its momentum, and in its ability to translate ideas into reality. That makes the job of fundraising a little easier. I’m very proud of our effort - more than $1 million per day, 365 days per year, for seven years - and I am really gratified that we have increased our annual fundraising level from about $250 million per year at the start of the campaign to what appears to be a steady $400 million per year now. I thank our great trustees - especially Joel Ehrenkranz — John, all our donors, and my great team.”

The campaign included four gifts of $100 million or more, and eight gifts of between $25 and $99.9 million. There were 457 gifts of $1 million or more; altogether there were over 475,000 gifts to the campaign from nearly 150,000 donors.

Over the course of the campaign, total annual fundraising increased from approximately $250 million/year to approximately $400 million/year. The amount of annual giving by alumni through the Fund for NYU nearly tripled over the course of the campaign - from $11.4 million in 2001 to $31.1 million in 2008.

The Campaign for NYU had set a target of raising $625 million for financial aid; however, by the end of the campaign, $376 million had been raised. Therefore, this year the University is kicking off “NYU’s Call to Action,” which will seek $80 million per year over five years for the endowment. Once fully funded, these endowment resources will enable the University to reduce by half the tuition burden for the average Pell-eligible family.

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