Donors dramatically increase giving to undergraduate student support

Private donors to UC Santa Cruz increased their giving to undergraduate student support by 39 percent last fiscal year, bolstering scholarships and other financial aid at a time when many students and families are struggling.

Donors gave $1.2 million for undergraduate student support, which includes scholarships, up from $858,000 last year. A total of 12,421 donors were responsible for 16,578 gifts and pledges to the campus during the 2009-10 fiscal year, contributing over $20 million in private fundraising.

"Our outstanding students will benefit directly from this extraordinary philanthropy in support of UC Santa Cruz," said Felicia E. McGinty, vice chancellor of Student Affairs. "Scholarships help students fully engage in the unique UCSC experience, fulfilling their academic goals and helping them access outside-the-classroom opportunities."

She noted that this is the second year in a row that giving to undergraduate student support has increased, after a decline in 2007-2008.

While fundraising was down overall compared with last year—reflecting the current difficult economic conditions—there were plenty of bright spots in the campus's philanthropic efforts. Another dramatic increase can be seen in unrestricted campus-wide giving—which does not include gifts specifically earmarked to departments.

Unrestricted giving allows for critical support to areas that are in greatest need.

The figure— $307,000—is up 23 percent from last year's figure of $249,000.

Chancellor George R. Blumenthal noted that combined giving to graduate and undergraduate student support reached $1.6 million during this difficult economic period.

"Philanthropy has the power to transform people's lives," Blumenthal said. "We are grateful for this support, which makes such a difference for students. With private giving, our campus is cultivating a vibrant learning community, one that takes us to the next level of academic distinction and prepares our students to make meaningful contributions to society."

The past fiscal year included many highlights of private giving:

  • More than 300 people attended the seventh annual UC Santa Cruz Scholarship Benefit Dinner at the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose, which raised nearly $175,000 for undergraduate scholarships.
  • Students with ties to Kings and Tulare Counties in the Central Valley will benefit from a $75,000 scholarship fund established by alumnus Thomas Akin and his wife, Karen.
  • The Hierarchical Systems Research Foundation, a family foundation, donated $25,000 to support student scholarships in science and engineering.
  • Bank of America contributed $12,500 toward Regents Scholarships for undergraduates.

Generous friends of the campus also helped fund research, facilities, and more:

  • Cisco Systems, Inc., gave nearly $900,000 to Computer Engineering, establishing a lab for network education and a network engineering research partnership benefiting graduate students.
  • Private gifts helped McHenry Library meet requirements for a $700,000 challenge grant from the Kresge Foundation.
  • A three-year, $580,000 grant from the W.T. Grant Foundation funded education researchers to improve academic outcomes for Latino high school students.
  • University Professor Sandra Faber and her husband, Andrew, gave $180,000 to establish an Astronomy gift fund, which matched Irene Osterbrock’s $75,000 gift to establish the Osterbrock Graduate Leadership Award in Astronomy and Astrophysics.