Campaign ends, USF receives $255 million

Ask, and you shall receive.

USF asked friends and alumni to donate, and more than a quarter-billion dollars later, the university is announcing the completion of “Great Achievements-Great Expectations: The Campaign for USF,” a program started more than six years ago.

Hinks Shimberg, president for the USF Foundation, said though USF was not as visible six years ago as it is today, he had no doubt that the campaign would be a success because he could see that the university was growing.

“We knew back then that the university was on a path to greatness,” Shimberg said. “And, now, I’m glad to say we succeeded. A lot of people put a lot of hard work into this.”The campaign, which raised $255,930,705, started July 1, 1995, and officially came to an end on June 30 of this year.

A press release issued by USF said during the six years, more than 100,000 gifts were given, with donations coming from every state and 28 countries.

Michael Rierson, USF’s vice president for advancement and executive director for the USF Foundation, said though he is happy with the massive amount of money, he said USF has potential to do much more if it has a larger national presence.

“USF is a national institution, and it is still under-marketed,” Rierson said. “I intend to accelerate our national marketing and be much more aggressive in getting stories out to the national press about USF.”

Rierson emphasized that philanthropy does not come without establishing a base. He said pecuniary gifts from donors are generally more long-term and focused on a particular department. These donations result in augmentation of the base of funding that advances key priorities and also complements state funds.

“(Using) philanthropy is not a bail-out strategy,” he said. “It’s a springboard. You build the brand, and philanthropy is the outcome.”

Rierson used the USF’s brain repair research program as an example of how rigorous marketing can be key in developing a program. He said the program received research support in the 1980s during USF’s first six-year campaign, “Shaping the Future.” During the most recent campaign, brain research pulled in nearly $8 million for research and equipment.

According to the press release, of the $255 million, 69 percent has already been paid and is being used in the university. Another $49,476,817 is expected to be paid over the next five years while the remainder of the donations will come in the form of estate gifts, the press release said.

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