Purdue breaks single-year fundraising record with $451M in gifts

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Purdue University reported record-high gifts and sponsored research funding in the 2018 fiscal year.

Gifts to Purdue reached $451.5 million, the first time donors have given more than $400 million in one year. And the university brought in another $454.5 million in funding for sponsored research programs, an increase of about $36 million from the prior year.

The number of donors in fiscal year 2018, which ended for the university on June 30, also reached its highest yet, surpassing 86,000 donors.

Vice President for Development Amy Noah attributed the fundraising increase to Purdue elevating its national profile by making news with strategic moves such as the university's multi-year tuition freeze.

“There’s been a huge response from our stakeholders as it relates to our focus on affordability,” Noah said. “They’ve felt good about the actions the institution has taken to hold tuition … and explore ways to cut the cost of food or textbooks. To feel like we’re fiscally responsible internally, it’s inspired them to support the institution.”

Including 2018 donations, Purdue has raised $1.96 billion of the $2.02 billion it intends to raise through its “Ever True” fundraising campaign. The campaign ends in 2019, Purdue’s 150-year anniversary.

Noah said the Ever True campaign has drawn 190,000 donors, 46 percent of whom had never before made a gift to Purdue.

“Purdue looks and feels different than it may have in the past, and people have really stepped forward,” Noah said. “We really, really appreciate how many of our younger alumni have donated. That’s powerful.”

The institution’s increase in sponsored research comes after three previous years of record funding for those programs.

The increases happened at a time when federal funding generally “remained flat or is inflation-adjusted going down,” according to Purdue’s Suresh Garimella, executive vice president for research and partnerships.

“It’s a significant increase,” Garimella said. “It’s not like the overall pot has been growing. It’s not like all boats are rising. At a time of flat to declining funding, we’ve done really well.”

Garimella said he sees future growth in industries including life sciences and neuroscience.

“We have a large range of sponsors that we’re working with,” Garimella said. “That makes it more robust. If you’ve got a good diversity of sources, then I expect this to be a fairly sustainable trend."

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