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Donations to Virginia Tech Top $150 Million for Second Straight Year

More than 220 Virginia Tech students benefit from the Beyond Boundaries Scholars program, made possible by donors and now in its second year.

For the second year in a row, donations to Virginia Tech surpassed $150 million.

Tens of thousands of donors made more than $153.6 million in new gifts and commitments, combined, to the university during the 2017-18 fiscal year.

“I continue to be impressed by the spirit and generosity of the Hokie Nation, and I’m grateful for our donors’ commitment to the future,” said Virginia Tech President Tim Sands. “They make it possible for us to fulfill our land-grant mission to change lives and communities through research and education, and they empower our vision to become a leading global university.”

The year’s strong fundraising results continue an important trend. Virginia Tech has raised $100 million or more per year since fiscal 2016, its first complete year in an advancement model that brought together fundraising, marketing and communications, and alumni relations under the university’s Advancement Division.

A total of 33,020 individual donors, corporations, or foundations made new gifts or commitments to the university in fiscal 2018. The university’s fiscal year runs from July through June.

Multiple colleges and programs saw increases in new gifts and commitments. Donations to the Pamplin College of Business more than doubled, to nearly $13.9 million.

“The generosity of our alumni, corporate partners, and friends is integral to the college’s success,” said Robert Sumichrast, the Pamplin college dean. “We deeply appreciate all those who give. They help make it possible for us to provide students with a quality education and the necessary tools to thrive in the business world.”

Donations to Virginia Tech Athletics rose 59 percent, to nearly $44.7 million.

“The extraordinary support from so many generous Hokies gives our student athletes the resources to thrive in athletics and in academics,” said Whit Babcock, Virginia Tech’s director of athletics.

Major gifts that fueled the university’s fundraising in fiscal 2018 included $20 million to support the launch of the Calhoun Honors Discovery Program, $15.2 million — the single largest outright gift ever made to Virginia Tech Athletics — for a new Student Athlete Performance Center, and $5 million to establish the May Family Foundation Pathway for 1st-Generation Students.

Gifts to the Virginia Tech Annual Funds, which support academics and athletics, increased 8 percent, to more than $24.6 million. The university’s alumni giving participation rate climbed to 13 percent, up from 12 percent in fiscal 2017.

Alumni giving rates affect rankings as well as revenue. By 2022, Virginia Tech aims to increase its alumni giving rate to 22 percent.

“Hokies are some of the most loyal and generous people anywhere,” said Charlie Phlegar, vice president for advancement. “Because of them, we’re reaching new levels of fundraising success and engagement. Their giving helps raise Virginia Tech’s profile and supports our university’s many accomplishments. Together, we are making exciting progress, and we are thankful for every member of our donor community.”

Alumni and friends across the world also supported Virginia Tech during the kickoff of a new annual tradition — Giving Day — on March 20 and 21. The 24-hour fundraising challenge drew more than 5,000 gifts and raised over $1.6 million. A total of 4,313 people made gifts, including 1,429 first-time donors. Of all participants, 2,799 were Virginia Tech alumni and 322 were students.

Giving Day 2019 is planned for March 19, beginning at noon and ending at noon on March 20.

For a second straight year, all members of President Sands’ senior leadership team donated. Joining the President’s Council in 100 percent giving this past fiscal year were the university’s Board of Visitors, the Virginia Tech Foundation Board, and the Alumni Association Board of Directors.

Donors also play a crucial role in Virginia Tech’s progress toward one of its strategic goals — to reduce cost barriers to a university education for students from underserved communities and to reduce the number of high-achieving students who choose competing schools that offer more generous financial aid. By 2022, Virginia Tech aims to increase its population of underrepresented and underserved undergraduate students to 40 percent in the incoming class.

A major tactic for reaching this goal is the Beyond Boundaries Scholars program. This matching gift initiative, announced in 2016, doubles the impact of scholarships for qualifying students. With students due to begin the fall semester on Aug. 20, the number of Beyond Boundaries Scholars has grown to more than 220, up from 137 in the fall of 2017.

“The success of the Beyond Boundaries program is a testament to the commitment of our alumni and friends to our vision for the future of Virginia Tech,” said Luisa Havens Gerardo, vice provost for enrollment management. “It shows that Virginia Tech is headed in the right direction, working to eliminate barriers to enrollment for a student body that reflects our diverse world.”

Along with new gifts and commitments, Virginia Tech reports cash received through donations each year. For fiscal 2018, it received nearly $134.4 million, up 7 percent from what had been a record total of $125.0 million in fiscal 2017.

Jenny Kincaid Boone

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