Donations from alumni fundraising surpass goal

The scholarship fund more than doubled from its 2015 total.

The university announced Tuesday it passed its fundraising goal for 2016 and raised the highest amount for scholarships in the past five years.

The $79.1 million in donations raised this year is the second highest amount the university has ever raised, falling short of last year’s $84.2 million, which was boosted by the $25 million donation from the late trustee Lewis Katz to the Lewis Katz School of Medicine.

“If you look at our fundraising over the last five years, the trend is up,” said Jim Dicker, vice president for institutional advancement. “This isn’t a one-year change. It’s been incrementally stepping up.”

Alumni donations increased by 13.6 percent from 36,643 overall donors in 2015 to 41,626 in 2016 and scholarship donations more than doubled from $7.6 million in 2015 to $15.6 million in 2016. Of that money donated in 2016 for scholarships, $5 million of it, in the Beasley School of Law, came from trustee Leonard Barrack and his wife Lynne.

Dicker said the increase came from an “extraordinary investment” in alumni outreach. The team that focuses on outreach has grown from six to 16 people in five years under the direction of Ken Lawrence, vice president for Alumni Relations.

“There are many, many ways we reach out to alumni,” Dicker said. “There are chapters and societies with events in different geographic regions and among affinity groups. We have tailgates, cultural activities, homecoming and alumni weekend.”

Dicker said another jump in alumni involvement came from first-time participants, who made up 62 percent of attendees at events held throughout the year. He said there is a correlation between first-time attendees and first-time donors.

Of the $79.1 million total donations to the university, $22.8 million went to support for students, making it the largest portion of the total fundraising. Endowments that support cultural and student programs, scholarships and restricted annual gifts made up another $20 million in gifts.

There are 172 total gifts for endowments, said Jennifer Trautwein, associate vice president of advancement services in the Office of Institutional Advancement.

One of the largest parts of restricted annual gifts, which total $13.5 million, includes almost $10 million in donations to the Fox Chase Cancer Center, she said in an email.

Another $3.3 million is going to gifts for endowment and $2.2 million is going to grants.

The third highest category of fundraising, totaling $14.1 million for this year, is going to the university’s Annual Fund, which is made of annual gifts of less than $50,000 from students, alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends.

“Gifts to the annual fund are designated by the donor to the area of their choice, so their gift can literally support just about anything at Temple,” Trautwein said in an email. “A donor can support a sports team, financial aid, an art project, a musical program, scholarships, study abroad efforts, technology upgrades. It is completely donor driven.”

Gifts to construction and renovation projects are sorted into a fund for New and Renovated Facilities, which makes up $5.8 million of 2016’s total donations. This money can go to projects like the new library that is currently under construction and renovations around campus.

Donations specified to fund construction of the proposed stadium were not released. Trautwein said the university has had “a number of conversations with individuals about private support for the stadium” and that the conversations are ongoing. She added approval of the project would result in commitments to donate directly to the stadium.

Julie Christie can be reached at

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