The University of Arkansas at Little Rock raised $18 million in private gifts in the past fiscal year, the school announced Wednesday.
"Over the past 5 years, we've averaged about $17 million a year. Our overall goal is to always increase," UALR spokesman Tracy Courage wrote in an email.
The 24,642 gifts made fiscal 2018, which ended June 30, the university's third-best year in UALR's fundraising history, according to a news release.
"One of our top priorities is to make a quality college education accessible and affordable in central Arkansas," Chancellor Andrew Rogerson said in the release. "Private philanthropy is vital to providing this pathway to support student scholarships and experiential learning opportunities."
The gifts came from more than 7,400 individuals, corporations and private foundations. Among the contributions were 29 new endowments, totaling almost $1 million and bringing the university's total endowment to more than $78 million, the release said.
In an email, Courage said gifts in fiscal 2018 totaled $17,957,464.99. Of that amount, $7,801,673.33 was in the form of cash; $6,368,820 was pledged; $801,777 was through planned giving; and $2,985,201.36 was through gifts in kind.
All of the gifts are for designated purposes, Courage said.
For example, Greg Hatcher, chief executive officer of The Hatcher Agency, gave the largest gift, $1.4 million, to start an NCAA Division I wrestling program in Arkansas. Windgate Foundation donated $1 million to establish a professorship in applied art.
A total of $4.3 million went to Trojan athletics and was designated for student-athlete support.
"The growth of interest and support for the Little Rock Trojans continues to make a significant impact on our athletics program," Chasse Conque, athletics director director, said in the release. "We are most grateful for the generous contributions of our loyal donors who believe in our vision to elevate Trojan Athletics to heights we have not seen before."
The university said other gifts included $800,000 from Dr. Bruce Murphy, president and chief executive officer of Arkansas Heart Hospital, to benefit students in the College of Education and Health Professions; and nearly $1 million to create a more affordable pathway to a law degree for Pulaski County residents and future law students who want to practice law in the county.
The law-degree money "is part of the charitable component left over in a $45 million cigarette settlement fund," UALR said.
The Alumni Association also contributed.
Through the Taste of Little Rock event, it raised more than $130,000 for student scholarships. More than half of UALR employees also contributed.
Christian O'Neal, vice chancellor for university advancement, said UALR is well-positioned moving forward into a five-year campaign.
"We exceeded our annual goal, and we have strong momentum as we begin our campaign," he said in the release.
"Our community and supporters are driving us forward, and the best is yet to come as we anticipate publicly launching our capital campaign in Fall 2019."
State Desk on 07/12/2018