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Despite this year’s tumult at the highest levels of University administration, Harvard’s fundraisers raked in a smidgen more than last year.
Annual gifts to Harvard grew to $595 million in fiscal year 2006, the University’s second-highest annual results. The total contributions were a slight increase over the previous year, when Harvard received $590 million in gifts.
“Our fundraising remained strong throughout the year,” said Vice President for Alumni Affairs and Development Donella M. Rapier in a press release. “We are enormously grateful to our alumni and friends for their generosity and continued dedication to Harvard.”
While gift receipts to Harvard Business School in 2006 totaled only $57 million—a 54 percent decline from the previous year, when the final year of a capital campaign helped to boost the B-School bounty—Harvard said that other parts of the University “more than offset” the decline. Gifts to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences rose 15 percent.
Significant commitments announced during the past fiscal year, which ended on June 30, include a $100 million donation from homebuilding magnate Eli Broad and his family to finance genomics research; $20 million from Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal to fund a program for Islamic studies; and the $50 million University Professorship Challenge, a matching fund established by six alumni.
The strong fundraising returns came amid fears that large donors would table their gifts in the wake of University President Lawrence H. Summers’ departure. Lawrence J. Ellison, chief executive of Oracle Corp., called off his plans to donate $115 million and create the Ellison Institute for World Health—a decision he attributed to Summers’ resignation. At least three other substantial gifts were cancelled, including $100 million from publisher and real-estate tycoon Mortimer Zuckerman, $100 million from former Harvard Corporation member Richard A. Smith ’46, and $75 million from banker David Rockefeller ’36, The Wall Street Journal reported in July.
Interim President Derek C. Bok said in May that he expects to see a temporary drop in gift-giving over the coming year as donors wait for a permanent president to take office.
“I think a number of donors will probably feel that they will like to wait and see who the next president is before making commitments,” Bok said.
But, he added, “I don’t think the total amount over a two, three-year period will be affected.”
Harvard will also wait until a permanent president takes office before launching its multi-billion-dollar capital campaign, which could be the largest in higher-ed history. The public launch of the campaign has already slipped from Harvard officials’ initial expectations.
“Quite naturally, we think that any University campaign will be most successful with a president in place, so any decisions about that will likely wait” until a new leader takes charge, Rapier said in an interview last spring.
The University’s most successful fundraising year was 2001, in which Harvard raised $658 million in nominal terms. Harvard fundraisers attribute that year’s total to several unusually large one-time gifts, including a $50 million donation from the Ford Foundation.
—Staff writer Nicholas M. Ciarelli can be reached at email@example.com.
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