Fundraising campaign shatters goal set by UI, UI Foundation

The UI raised $1.975 billion in the university’s largest fundraising campaign, ‘For Iowa. Forever More.’


Joseph Cress

FILE – In this file photo, University of Iowa President Bruce Harreld, DaVida Anderson, Ph.D. student in the Higher Education and Student Affairs program, and Keith Carter, head of the Department of Ophthalmology in the Carver College of Medicine, thank a man after the For Iowa. Forever More: The Campaign for the University of Iowa event in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber on Monday, Feb. 6, 2017. The eight and a half year campaign raised $1,975,592,048. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

The University of Iowa and UI Foundation announced Monday the largest fundraising effort in the history of the university and the state of Iowa, “For Iowa. Forever More.,” raised $1.975 billion upon the campaign’s conclusion, surpassing its original goal of $1.7 billion.

At the time the eight-and-a-half-year campaign was announced in May 2013, $1.025 billion had been raised. The campaign continued through December 2016, and the money was raised with the help of 272,543 donors.

Lynette Marshall, the president and CEO of the UI Foundation, said the university and Foundation leadership, as well as UI faculty, identified three campaign priorities that money raised is used to fund: educating students; ensuring a healthier and more sustainable world; and enriching commerce, culture, and communities.

“For Iowa. Forever More.” money goes toward funding things such as UI grants and gifts, scholarships, faculty-development opportunities, and facilities including the construction of the UI Stead Family Children’s Hospital and renovations to Kinnick Stadium.

“This campaign is already making an impact on our university and its people,” Marshall said.

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In the past, UI community members have suggested shifting money from athletics — funds pertaining to the Kinnick renovations — toward academics. However, even as the public sometimes pushes the UI to use funds for purposes other than what the donor intended, Marshall and UI President Bruce Harreld said they would be good stewards of the campaign funds.

“That opens a very difficult door in my opinion — the door of, ‘We’re free to use the money as we choose,’” Harreld said. “We’re not, so all of you who have contributed so significantly to this campaign, I’d like you to know we will honor your requests. We understand you give to specific things that impact you and your families.”

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While 39 states across the country have increased funding for education, Iowa is not one of those states, he said, as a result of the Iowa Legislature’s January decision to cut $8 million in funding from the UI. He stressed the importance of philanthropic support in maintaining the university’s excellence.

A lack of funding from the government — both state and federal — was a concern for DaVida Anderson, a Ph.D. student in the UI’s Higher Education and Student Affairs Program. Anderson, an ACT scholar, acknowledged the student-loan debt that amounts to trillions of dollars nationwide but said monetary support from the UI enabled her to “secure” her dreams as a scholar and researcher.

“My story is just one of many, but my story represents the influence when individuals work together to create opportunities at the University of Iowa to ensure students’ dreams will not be deferred,” she said in reference to writer Langston Hughes’ poem “Harlem.”

Faculty members also expressed gratitude for the campaign’s role in funding research and maintaining the quality of their respective programs. Lan Samantha Chang, the director of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, attributed the program’s prestige in part to philanthropy.

“Iowa is what people think of when they think of literature in the Heartland and in this country all over the world,” she said.

Harreld said he anticipates another campaign launch as the UI works on its 2016-2021 strategic plan and adds new undergraduate programs. He has found the support from this campaign “exhilarating.”

“The passion that Iowans have, our alumni have, for this institution is incredible,” Harreld said. “You can see it during sporting events, you can see it at our graduation ceremonies, and then you can see it in terms of their fiscal support for us. It’s really gratifying. I think it’s a shot of energy for our entire institution.”