FAYETTEVILLE -- Giving to the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville totaled $163.4 million in the 12-month period that ended June 30, continuing an overall trend of increased contributions to the state's largest university.
Top support areas were capital improvements, which made up $64.3 million, or 39%, of the funds raised in fiscal 2019, and student scholarships and academic programs, making up $50.6 million, or 31% of the giving total, according to UA's announcement Tuesday.
"We're just very thankful for every gift of every size, because it truly does make a difference," said Mark Power, UA's vice chancellor for university advancement.
The yearly fundraising total differs from cash receipts taken in over the same time period. The university reported $151.8 million in cash receipts, which include pledged payments, outright gifts and planned gift distributions.
The $163.4 million fundraising amount fell short of the fiscal 2018 total of $292.7 million, which included unprecedented gifts for arts education of $120 million from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation and $40 million from the Windgate Foundation.
But the most recent total surpassed the $134.2 million raised in fiscal 2017. In fiscal 2016 and 2015, UA reported fundraising totals of $131.6 million and $116.5 million, respectively.
"We continue to see outstanding support from our donors and friends, who not only realize how important philanthropy is to enhancing the University of Arkansas experience, but are committed to advancing our vision," Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said in a statement.
Steinmetz said the university will "continue to prioritize the resources and facilities needed for the success of our students."
The university cited its Advance Arkansas scholarship program as a fundraising effort directed at helping students from Arkansas with financial need. Since the scholarship initiative began in 2017, $6.5 million has been raised to help students, according to UA.
In the 2018-19 academic year, 20 Advance Arkansas scholarships were given out, said Jennifer Holland, UA's director of development communications. She said more than 60 additional Advance Arkansas scholarships are being offered to students for the upcoming fall semester.
The overall fundraising total includes $34.5 million to support athletics, including gifts to the nonprofit Razorback Foundation, Power said. Giving to athletics increased compared with the previous fiscal year, when the university said about $29.3 million went to support athletics.
Power said some of the capital-project support includes giving to help with athletics-related projects. In December, the university announced a $6 million gift from the family of the founder of Tyson Foods Inc. to support the renovation of the Randal Tyson Track Center. UA also announced a $5 million pledge from the Willard & Pat Walker Charitable Foundation to support a new baseball clubhouse and performance center.
Other capital-project fundraising has been for academic efforts, including a civil engineering research building, and to support a new residence hall, Power said.
Also, "we're raising money for our Student Success Center that we are going to be breaking ground on this next month," Power said. "That has been a priority for us this year." The Student Success Center will house tutoring, mentoring and other student services, UA officials have said.
The fundraising comes in the form of cash, gifts-in-kind, planned gifts and new pledges, with about $17.8 million directed to add to the university's endowment, according to UA.
Power said the university and colleges within UA set fundraising priorities.
"With that in mind, we begin to approach prospective donors," Power said, with the university mindful of a donor's philanthropic interests. "We try to match those up as best we can," Power said.
The university's fundraising total increased despite federal tax-law changes described by the Tax Policy Center as discouraging charitable giving.
The center, a joint venture of the Urban Institute and Brookings Institution, concluded that fewer taxpayers would itemize their deductions after an increase in the standard deduction, a part of the federal legislation known as the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act that also lowered tax rates.
The center's analysis said that having fewer people itemizing deductions would mean fewer taxpayers would take a deduction for charitable contributions, among other ways the law would affect charitable giving. The tax-law changes took effect in 2018.
Power said the tax-law changes "have been top of mind for us over this past year."
The university reported 52,203 benefactors, down from 53,122 benefactors in fiscal 2018 and 53,196 benefactors in fiscal 2017.
Power said, "We've been pretty consistent with our number of benefactors."
Gifts from individuals -- as opposed to corporations or foundations -- made up $25.4 million, or 16%, of the fundraising total.
The largest share of giving, $64.9 million, or 40%, came from foundations, including a $23.7 million gift announced in November from the Walton Family Charitable Support Foundation to support research efforts with potential for commercialization.
Corporations provided $57.5 million, or 35%, of the giving total. And $15.6 million, or 9%, is considered as coming from trusts, estates and other organizations.
The university is now in the final year of its Campaign Arkansas, having surpassed the original fundraising goal of $1 billion. The university has thus far raised $1.11 billion, with a goal to raise $1.25 billion.
Metro on 08/07/2019
Print Headline: $163M given in fiscal 2019 to support UA