UA Little Rock Foundation gifts total nearly $48 million in record-breaking fundraising year

While 2020 has been a year full of challenges, the generosity of supporters of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock has resulted in the university’s highest fundraising year to date with UA Little Rock alumni and friends donating a record-breaking $47,941,061. 

“Now more than ever, UA Little Rock is grateful for the support of our donors who continue to invest in the future of our university,” Chancellor Christina Drale said. “Even now, as people are coping with a global pandemic, our community has continued to give so that we can provide students with opportunity and a pathway to success.” 

Fiscal year 2020 included the largest gift received in UA Little Rock’s 93-year history, a transformational gift of $25 million from an anonymous donor to support the university’s strategic enrollment management plan. The gift includes $10 million for a Student Success Endowment Fund to expand and permanently support the university’s student retention and success initiatives and $15 million for need-based scholarships for undergraduate students.

When the gift was announced in May, the donor said, “We have watched the rapid transformation of the institution under Dr. Drale and her team’s leadership. The purposeful, strategic approach to solidifying UA Little Rock’s unique and crucial role in the Arkansas educational system gives donors like me the confidence to invest.”

The incredible year of fundraising also included: 

  • An 8-figure anonymous estate gift to provide scholarships for students.
  • Increased annual giving toward emergency scholarships to help students with unexpected financial burdens due to COVID-19.
  • Expanded national fundraising efforts that brought about giving from alumni living outside of Arkansas, including a $250,000 endowed scholarship to the College of Business, Health, and Human Services from Marvin Presnall, of Tacoma, Washington, as well as a $269,160 gift from Wiley D. Cavin III, of Austin, Texas, to create the Wylie D. Cavin Endowed Scholarship for students at the UA Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. 

The gifts are part of a comprehensive fundraising campaign designed to increase the number of endowed need-based scholarships, grow the student support endowment, raise support for high-quality faculty through endowed chairs, raise endowed maintenance funds for existing buildings, and help renovate existing facilities.

More than 6,800 individuals, corporations, and private foundations gave 25,901 gifts between July 1, 2019, and June 30, 2020. This is the fourth consecutive year of gift growth for UA Little Rock, with $20 million raised in 2019, $17.7 million in 2018, and $17.5 million in 2017. 

Fundraising support on campus has also grown. This year, 52.85 percent of faculty and staff contributed to the annual campus campaign fund drive, a 7 percent increase over the previous year. 

“I’m inspired by the generosity of our donors,” said Christian O’Neal, vice chancellor for university advancement. “I hear stories on a daily basis from current and former students who have felt the difference private support makes in their lives and in our community. This keeps the case for giving to UA Little Rock strong.”

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