UC Davis launches $1 billion fundraising campaign

Student speaker © UC Regents
Gurjaspreet Bhattal, a 4th year biochemistry and molecular biology student, spoke of her dreams to become a doctor one day.

Posted Nov. 3, 2010

The University of California, Davis, has announced plans to raise $1 billion in philanthropic support from 100,000 donors to advance the university's mission and vision.

The announcement took place at a morning public celebration at the Robert and Margrit Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts at UC Davis.

“The Campaign for UC Davis presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to further our bold vision for this university — to advance among the nation's top public research universities and take the lead in identifying and addressing the globe's most critical challenges,” said Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.

Jan Nolta, director of the Stem Cell Program in the UC Davis School of Medicine, and Peter Mundy, director of education at the UC Davis MIND Institute, participated in the campaign launch, highlighting the interdisciplinary nature of UC Davis research.

A $1 billion-dollar campaign target is an ambitious one. Only 26 colleges and universities, or about 1 percent of the nation's more than 2,500 four-year institutions, are currently in campaigns of that scale. Historically, about 75 have undertaken $1 billion campaigns.

Funds generated through the campaign will enable UC Davis to continue to fulfill its land-grant mission to identify and solve society's problems.

Chancellor Katehi © UC Regents“The Campaign for UC Davis presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to further our bold vision for this university — to advance among the nation's top public research universities and take the lead in identifying and addressing the globe's most critical challenges.”
— Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi

Specifically, the funds will help increase student scholarships and financial aid; create new endowed chairs and professorships; enrich teaching and research; improve patient care; enhance the university environment through improvements in facilities, library materials, art and scholarly collections and equipment; and allow the campus to act on emerging opportunities.

Since July 2006, when the UC Office of the President gave approval for the university to begin a “quiet” campaign to assess support and determine fundraising goals, donors have pledged more than $605 million to UC Davis. On Sept. 16, the UC Board of Regents gave the university the go-ahead to take the campaign public, and authorized the $1 billion goal. The campaign is expected to last until 2014.

University fundraising campaigns commonly begin with a quiet phase to seek inspirational lead gifts and set campaign goals. The “public” phase typically begins only after a university has commitments in hand for at least 40 percent of the total fundraising goal.

During the public phase, UC Davis will seek to attract broad philanthropic support from UC Davis alumni and other supporters throughout the state, nation and world.

Campaign launch at the Mondavi Center © UC Regents
To great fanfare, UC Davis launched the $1 billion fundraising campaign on Oct. 22 at the Mondavi Center.

"I am greatly encouraged by the campaign’s success to date,” Katehi said, “and grateful to the university’s donors, Campaign Cabinet, trustees of the UC Davis Foundation, and other volunteer fundraising leaders, whose efforts have been vital in achieving more than half of our goal during our early, quiet-phase efforts. My thanks also go to UC Davis’ outstanding faculty, staff and students for their involvement in this effort.”

UC Davis now receives about 20 percent of its budget from the state, but depends on gift support to supplement this core funding. Private and local support account for about 7 percent of the university's budget.

The Campaign for UC Davis is the first comprehensive fundraising initiative in the university's 102-year history.

In a comprehensive campaign, every college, school, department and program across the university raises money toward a common dollar goal over a period of years. All private gift and grant support during the campaign period counts toward the total.

Private universities have long employed the comprehensive campaign as a strategy to build fundraising momentum and enthusiasm. Public universities are increasingly relying on the strategy as well.

UC Davis backers for many years have urged the campus to undertake a comprehensive campaign.

Donors to The Campaign for UC Davis (2006-2010):

  • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation: $102.4 million
  • Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation: $19.6 million
  • Louise Rossi Estate: $12.9 million
  • Theodora Peigh Estate: $11.1 million
  • Maurice ’71 and Marcia Gallagher: $10 million

"We are eager for UC Davis to take on this bold initiative because we are well aware of this institution's distinguished history of teaching, research and public service, and its great potential to achieve even more in the century ahead," said Kevin Bacon, chair of the UC Davis Foundation, which provides important volunteer fundraising leadership for the university.

“I feel — and many others do as well — a deep sense of pride in the gifts I make to UC Davis. The university has already made remarkable contributions in so many fields — I can’t wait to see what UC Davis will accomplish in the years ahead with the help of this campaign,” Bacon said.

Bacon, a retired management consultant, is now a visiting professor at the University of Texas, Austin. He earned his undergraduate degree in political science at UC Davis in 1972.

Margrit Mondavi and Maurice J. Gallagher Jr., two of the university’s most generous benefactors, are the honorary co-chairs of The Campaign for UC Davis.

“I know of the many contributions UC Davis is making in California and across the globe,” Mondavi said. “It is a great university, with impact in many fields.  For example, through arts and cultural programs and teaching and research in viticulture and enology, UC Davis is advancing the art of winemaking, is enriching lives and adding joie de vivre. I am proud to be part of this historic campaign.”

About UC Davis

UC Davis campaign banner © UC RegentsFor more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world. Located close to the state capital, UC Davis has 32,000 students, an annual research budget that exceeds $600 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers.

The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges — Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science. It also houses six professional schools — Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

For more information about The Campaign for UC Davis, go to: campaign.ucdavis.edu.

Mondavi and her late husband, Robert Mondavi, in 2001 gave $35 million to establish the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and to name the campus's Center for the Performing Arts.

The performing arts center has transformed northern California’s cultural landscape, while the wine and food institute is ushering in a new, more sustainable era of wine, beer and food production worldwide.

In January, Mondavi pledged an additional $2 million to help build a new art museum that will house and display some 4,000 works that the university has collected over the past 40 years, and serve as a teaching and cultural resource for the university and the region.

Gallagher, a 1971 graduate of UC Davis, is chairman and CEO of Allegiant Travel Co., a commercial airline and travel company based in Las Vegas. He and his wife, Marcia, gave $10 million in 2007 to name Maurice J. Gallagher Jr. Hall, the home of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management, and to establish an endowment for the MBA program — the largest single gift from an alumnus to the university.

The largest single gift to UC Davis was a $100 million commitment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in 2007 — during the campaign's quiet phase — to launch a school of nursing. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, located on the UC Davis Sacramento campus, admitted its inaugural class this summer.

Regional celebrations of The Campaign for UC Davis are being planned around the country in the coming year.