UC Santa Cruz raises more than $335 million from 63,064 donors

Two-thirds of the gifts came from first-time donors to UC Santa Cruz

Bettina Aptheker

Among the signature achievements is the addition of 16 new faculty chairs—nearly doubling the campus total. Bettina Aptheker, distinguished professor of feminist studies, is the inaugural appointee to the Peggy and Jack Baskin Foundation Presidential Chair for Feminist Studies. (Photo by Steve Kurtz)

In 2015, the campus celebrated the restoration of the 150-year-old Cowell Ranch Hay Barn near the entrance of campus. The barn has been one of the key buildings in the Cowell Lime Works Historic District, and now serves as the headquarters for the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems (CASFS). (Photo by Guy Lasnier)

The values that define UC Santa Cruz resonated with donors as the campus raised more than $335 million in its first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign.

The Campaign for UC Santa Cruz, which concluded this summer, launched quietly in 2009 and went public in 2013.  With gifts of every size, 63,064 donors supported things that mattered to them personally. Two-thirds—40,274—were first-time donors to UC Santa Cruz.

In the coming weeks, the campus will celebrate the success of the campaign, which concluded six months ahead of schedule and exceeded its initial goal of raising $300 million.

“It is hard to overstate the positive impact the Campaign for UC Santa Cruz is having on our campus,” said Chancellor George Blumenthal. “When I look around, I see it everywhere: the rebuilt Hay Barn near the main entrance, the renovated Quarry Amphitheater in the heart of campus, new academic programs and scholarships for our students, research and teaching support for our faculty, new cultural programs and archives, deeper engagement with our alumni and community.”  

Students and programs that directly impact them received $143 million in support; faculty and research programs received $130 million. Donors gave $42 million toward campus enhancements and $18 million in unrestricted and other support.

Among the signature achievements is the addition of 16 new faculty chairs—nearly doubling the campus total. The chairs provide resources in specific academic areas and confer prestige on the chair holders to build lasting excellence. The new chairs include ones dedicated to feminist studies, environmental justice, and fighting childhood cancer through genomics.  

A culture of shared values

“The things that make UC Santa Cruz unique—our people, programs, values, and location—resonated with donors,” Blumenthal said. “They saw opportunities to support our shared values in ways that reflected their own.”

Things like expanding classrooms in the wild, activating social change, building a network of inclusion, and launching a new graduate program in coastal science and policy. And in passions as diverse as endowing the study of modern poetry to endowing College Eight in the name of environmental pioneer Rachel Carson. In what became the largest single gift in campus history, the University Library was selected to house the Pirkle Jones and Ruth-Marion Baruch Photography Collection—more than 12,000 photographs documenting the people, landscape, and politics of California in the mid-20th century.

In addition to increasing financial resources, the campus wanted its first major fundraising campaign to build a deeper culture of philanthropy on campus and in the community. That goal was achieved, too, said Alec Webster, chair of the UC Santa Cruz Foundation Board of Trustees.

Webster took a hands-on approach to fundraising, personally connecting with faculty members, academic leaders, and donors to make things happen. “This is not a spectator sport,” said Webster. “It takes people at all levels to make good things happen. Everybody has something to give.”

Webster (Rachel Carson ’02, environmental studies) is a trustee of the Helen and Will Webster Foundation, established by his parents. The Webster family foundation gave generously during the campaign and inspired many others to give, too.

The UC Santa Cruz Foundation Board, comprised of volunteers from the arts and sciences, industry and community, played key roles in the campaign as donors and advisers. Trustee Linda Peterson (Stevenson, ’70, history) served as chair of the board’s campaign committee, which partnered with campus leadership throughout the campaign.

Celebrating, with an eye to the future

This month, the 2017 Founders Celebration will showcase the impact of philanthropy on the campus and include open houses at locations where its impact is being directly felt—including at the reopened Quarry Amphitheater and the rebuilt Hay Barn.  

In addition to the Founders Dinner on the evening of Oct. 21 and open houses earlier in the day, a special Convocation of Chairs on Oct. 20 will honor academic chair holders and donors.

“We are celebrating this fall, but our commitment to increasing private investment in UC Santa Cruz doesn’t end here,” Blumenthal said.  “Rather, it has begun in earnest. We’ve seen what we can do, and we are seeing clearly why it matters so much.”

Learn more

• About the impact of the Campaign for UC Santa Cruz, including individual stories, photos, and a by-the-numbers graphic at giving.ucsc.edu
• About 2017 Founders Celebration activities include:
Founders Dinner on Oct. 21 celebrating the success of the campaign and honoring those who exemplify the best of UC Santa Cruz
Free open houses on the afternoon of Oct. on the afternoon of Oct. 21 on the Coastal Science and Main campuses
Convocation of Chairs on Oct. 20, honoring chair holders and donors.