First Mizzou Giving Day attracted over 3,000 donors and $8 million in donations

Mizzou Giving Day is a part of the Mizzou: Our Time to Lead campaign, which hopes to raise $1.3 billion by 2020.

The various schools, colleges and other areas at MU raised $8,295,842 from 3,590 donors on Wednesday and Thursday during the first annual Mizzou Giving Day.

The campus-wide initiative was a part of the Mizzou: Our Time to Lead campaign, which hopes to raise $1.3 billion by June 2020. Before Mizzou Giving Day, the campaign had raised around $850 million since 2015, Vice Chancellor for Advancement Tom Hiles said.

The campaign is a response to decreasing state support for MU.

“Over the last couple of decades there’s been a real erosion of state support for state public institutions, and it doesn’t matter what state you’re in; you pretty much have that news story happening,” said Todd McCubbin, Executive Director of the MU Alumni Association. “As that’s occurred, tuition and fees have become a bigger part of our budget here at Mizzou. But also private fundraising has become a bigger part of what we do at Mizzou to help support the university.”

The fundraiser allowed participants to choose which area of the university they wanted their donations to go to. As such, distribution of the money raised during the event is not equal.

The College of Veterinary Medicine received over $2 million, the largest amount received by any area on campus. The College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources, the College of Engineering and the College of Education also raised over $1 million each.

“There are areas that are more interesting probably for donors in general, but really the effort is to highlight giving to Mizzou,” Hiles said. “We have a laundry list of things that different donors might have an interest in that end up helping Mizzou and helping advance society as well.”

Student Affairs received $119,925 from 733 donors, by far the largest number of donors supporting any area on campus. The School of Journalism had the next largest number of donors, 283, who contributed a total of $79,742.

Last year, annual giving, which is made up of individual gifts less than $10,000, decreased in response to negative press coverage of MU after the protests of 2015, Hiles said. While fundraising efforts such as the Our Time to Lead campaign are ongoing, financial difficulties increased after 2015.

“There were a lot of people saying that they would never give to us again,” Hiles said. “That was tough, but we overcame it and there’s still some negativeness out there, but I would say it’s largely been abated.”

But while annual giving and alumni association membership fell, 2016 saw a 15 percent increase in overall giving, raising $171 million, Hiles said.

“I think our alums are still very supportive of this institution,” McCubbin said. “They know that we went through a rough patch, and a lot of them want to help us find a new way forward in a very positive fashion.”

Money raised during Mizzou Giving Day and throughout the campaign will support MU’s endowment, the development of signature centers and facility improvement. The campaign hopes to raise the endowment from $820 million to over $1 billion.

“I like to say that’s a lot of money where I’m from, but compared to our peers that’s quite small,” Hiles said. “And that makes up hundreds of thousands of scholarships and different funds. So endowment is the top priority.”

Current signature centers on campus include the Reynolds Journalism Institute, the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy and the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders. By 2020, the campaign hopes to have formed five to 10 similar centers.

“All of those things work together as a big flywheel that we hope will gain momentum as we work towards our goals,” McCubbin said.

However, Hiles said private giving to the university is not intended to replace state support.

“Private support brings a lot more flexibility and increasingly is an important part of what we call the margin of excellence for the university,” Hiles said. “It doesn’t keep the lights on. In terms of supporting excellence, that’s what we see as the campaign’s primary focus.”

Edited by Kyle LaHucik | klahucik@themaneater.com

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