The amount of private donations to UC Irvine dropped significantly after the 1999-2000 fiscal year when UCI received $87 million. However, since 2002, UCI has experienced an increase in private giving. The $70.8 million raised in the last fiscal year, due in part to Paul Merage’s $30 million contribution to the School of Business, amounts to a 100 percent increase since 2002.
Contributors include corporations, foundations, alumni, campus related organizations, other organizations and individuals. Last year, foundations provided gifts amounting to $33 million dollars, 48 percent of total private giving.
‘The UCI Foundation receives these private gifts on behalf of the university,’ said Tom Mitchell, vice chancellor of university advancement. ‘The foundation is a group of volunteer trustees whose mission is to secure and manage private support for the university.’
The money that is received can be classified as being expendable or endowed dollars. Expendable dollars are discretionary funds that are spent and endowed dollars are not spent but invested with assistance from the UCI Investment Committee.
‘The UCI Investment Committee selects some investment instruments to use: bonds, equity funds, international funds and real estate funds,’ Mitchell said. ‘This committee reviews the investment and invests the endowed funds.’
About 95 percent of gifts received are restricted gifts that can only be spent on purposes designated by the donor. The remaining percentage of gifts that are unrestricted goes toward priorities established by the chancellor.
Mitchell believes that the significant increase in private giving is a result of campus leadership, school and unit leadership, professional staffing and a supportive community.
‘The chancellor’s and executive vice chancellor’s leadership is clear and exciting,’ Mitchell said. ‘We are a growing campus and people love to invest in growth and excitement.’
Deans of the schools and directors of specific academic units also contributed to the success.
‘They are very bright, motivated people and they do an extraordinary job in engaging the community in their respective schools and units,’ Mitchell said.
According to Mitchell, the UCI staff is a good partner with the chancellor, executive vice chancellor and deans of schools. The local community is also contributing funds.
‘Orange County has adopted UCI as their university and they generously give their time to volunteer here,’ Mitchell said. ‘They share their many talents and make investments in the university.’
Investments made by the community assist students and faculty through the form of scholarships, graduate fellowships and endowed chairs for distinguished faculty. ‘Gifts also help us buy equipment for the laboratories, build buildings and capital projects,’
Mitchell said. Mitchell believes that the pattern of increasing private funding will help UCI grow and develop.
‘I think that you will see continued growth in our professional schools … [including] a law school in the future, nursing program, public health program [and] pharmaceutical sciences program,’ Mitchell said. ‘I think that you will also see us further strengthen our arts and humanities.’
Mitchell sees a correlation between campus success and giving.
‘We’re very appreciative of the generous support that has been provided by our community and by our alumni,’ Mitchell said. ‘In order for us to continue to enhance excellence, private support will provide for that margin of excellence.’