More than forty-three thousand donors and philanthropic investors chose to support the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, in fiscal year 2016. That number represents an increase of more than ten thousand donors in the past three years.
In all, UT received $167 million in private and corporate gifts last fiscal year, marking another successful fundraising year.
UT credits the 30 percent increase in the number of donors to more online engagement through e-mail and social media and a boost in donor activity through its sixty-three alumni chapters. Many chapters have created and raised funds for new scholarships as a means of supporting local high school students who become new Vols.
More than half of UT’s donors in FY 2016 provided gifts of $100 or less.
“We are grateful to see a growing number of Volunteers investing in our journey to become a Top 25 public research university,” said Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “Our alumni, friends, and corporate partners are making a difference in the lives of UT students and faculty and on our campus.”
Private support helps to bridge the gap between state funding and student tuition and contributes to the state’s goal of raising the percentage of college-educated Tennesseans.
“Private and corporate support is critical to ensuring that our doors are always open to qualified students who want to become new Volunteers,” Cheek said.
Close to $14.5 million was given for merit- and need-based undergraduate scholarships, and $22.5 million will help boost graduate enrollment through new fellowships and assistantships.
Last year, VOLstarter, UT’s crowdfunding site, received more than $60,000 for sixty-three projects to help students grow and improve lives. Last fall’s Big Orange Give received close to $1.4 million in just one week. The online annual mini-campaign helps to reconnect many alumni and friends with UT. Nearly 80 percent of the gifts made through Big Orange Give were less than $100.
Chip Bryant, interim vice chancellor for development and alumni affairs, said the level of excitement and engagement of alumni and friends is also at an all-time high.
“They are excited about the direction of the university, and their investments are making an enormous difference in shaping our success,” said Bryant. “Every gift and every donor contribute to our goal of becoming an even better university.”
Brooks Clark (865-974-5471, firstname.lastname@example.org)