Unstoppable campaign nears deadline, may continue

USF’s Unstoppable campaign has raised roughly $500 million in two years. However, the program is still $100 million short of the goal set by USF President Judy Genshaft at its inception, and the deadline is approaching.

The USF: Unstoppable campaign, a comprehensive fundraiser launched by Genshaft in 2009, aimed to raise $600 million for the University by the end of the spring 2012 semester. Genshaft, Provost Ralph Wilcox and deans of other colleges established this goal after evaluating what needs should be met by the fund, said Joel Momberg, vice president for University Advancement and CEO of the USF Foundation.

He said Unstoppable donations are used for a variety of projects. Donations go toward constructing new buildings on campus, raising money for athletics and providing financial support to students through USF Foundation scholarships – in which some of the donations have already been dispersed.

He said the amount of the fund that has already dispersed varies because projects are still ongoing.

Momberg said the program racked in $111 million during the 2010-11 fiscal year. He said he is confident the campaign will come close to, if not reach, its goal.

“We may extend a little beyond,” Momberg said of the 2012 deadline. “We had a time frame that would end next year. You hope that you can raise that amount of money over a prescribed period of time … When you have difficult economic times, you never know when the campaign is going to finalize.”

In the past fiscal year, 44,375 donors contributed to the campaign. According to Jay Wilson, director of USF Foundation communications, the number of donors has gradually increased over the past two years. The total 118,355 campaign donors include corporations, alumni, foundations and individuals – the largest donations coming from private donors, he said.

Last year, Genshaft and her husband, Steve Greenbaum, gave $1 million to fund Genshaft/Greenbaum Passport Scholarships for students studying abroad.

Momberg said most donors give to specific areas of interest, the most common being student scholarships and donations to athletic programs. Many donors also donate more than once or annually.

“(USF has) a lot of great friends and supporters who have come forward and they know their gifts are important,” he said.

USF’s budget for the 2011-12 academic year, signed by state legislators in May, has decreased by $9 million and Public Education Capital Outlay (PECO) funds, used to fund construction projects, were reduced from about $5 million to $1 million.

Despite economic uncertainty and gaps in the University’s budget left from state funding cuts, Momberg said the Unstoppable campaign will continue to work toward its goal. If that goal is not met, other fundraising efforts will take its place.

“Marketing efforts will be similar to Unstoppable, but will carry a slightly different look and approach,” Momberg said.

Senior Associate Vice President for Advancement and Campaign Director Rod Grabowski said extending the Unstoppable campaign past its deadline in 2012 may help reach the $600 million goal, as well as raise awareness and enthusiasm for USF.

“Continuing to tell the story about the great things that are happening at the University and our priorities in moving forward is something that our campaign marketing has allowed us to do,” he said.