Unstoppable Campaign continues
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 14:10
Extending past its original Spring 2012 deadline, USF’s Unstoppable Campaign has set its sights on reaching its $600 million goal by the end of Spring 2013, despite being affected by the struggling economy and the creation of Florida Polytechnic University last year.
The Unstoppable Campaign, a comprehensive fundraising campaign which began on July 1, 2005, originally aimed to raise $600 million in five years. After raising more than $500 million in its first three years, the campaign has now reached $543,392,330 toward its goal.
Though $81.5 million was raised during the last fiscal year, the reported campaign amounts were affected by the move of USF Lakeland from the USF System to the independent Florida Polytechnic University, which required the shift of funds intended for the former USF Polytechnic campus, Rod Grabowski, senior associate vice president of university advancement and campaign director, said.
“Part of the challenge that we face is we need to make sure that we always follow donor intent,” he said. “We’ve raised a lot of money, but we also are in the middle of (the) divestment of USF Poly from our system.”
Since most money raised is “donor-designated,” meaning donors have predetermined wishes as to where they would like their money to go, donations intended for USF Lakeland will not be reflected in the current campaign total until the USF Foundation has confirmed the intent with every donor.
“This means calling every donor,” Jay Wilson, director of Foundation communications, said.
But some donations made will eventually be given to Florida Polytechnic University.
“There were some larger donations that ended up being made for USF Polytechnic,” Grabowski said. “(It) will eventually become the property of USF Poly … once they become a legal entity.”
The numbers currently reported already reflect that expected transfer, Wilson said.
The campaign raised $111 million during the 2010-11 fiscal year from 44,375 donors.
“Our number of donors during the recession did not decline, but the size of their gifts declined,” Grabowski said. “It is the large gifts that make the big impact on your total. As one would expect, when the stock market
goes down, people’s perceived wealth goes down.”
Donor interest did not seem to wane, but the ability to make substantial gifts did, Wilson said.
“Six, seven, eight figure gifts were put on the table for a year or two I think,” Wilson said.
Gifts like Pallavi and Kiran Patel’s $12 million donation to create the College of Global Sustainability would not have happened during the recession, Grabowski said.
As the economy improves, Grabowski said he thinks the campaign will reach its goal by the end of the 2013 semester.
“I am very optimistic that we are going to reach this goal and surpass it,” he said.
The $600 million eventually hoped to be raised is considered a “budget-enhancing entity,” Grabowski said, meaning it was not originally budgeted for, but was a goal based on the ability of fundraising efforts. Funds raised have already gone toward student scholarships and endowments, program enhancements and facilities improvement.
“This money is used as it comes in,” he said. “(The) Unstoppable Campaign generated money to build athletics buildings. The impact of this campaign is as visible as things like that… We are spending
it as we go and we are utilizing it to make sure it gets used for those purposes.”