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University of Dayton fundraising continues strong momentum

The University of Dayton is closing the books on another successful fiscal year of fundraising in which alumni, students, employees and friends of the University gave $45.5 million to support UD's mission, its aspirational vision and — most importantly — its students. 

Compared to the previous 10-year average of about $29.8 million in gifts annually, the 2018-19 fiscal year topped $40 million for the third straight year, demonstrating increased momentum of support for the University's top priorities and highest needs. Included in the $45.5 million total for 2018-19 are two multimillion dollar gifts that will be announced this fall.

"With the number of new donors and new gifts, of all sizes, not just this year but in the past three years, these results are a strong affirmation for the University and all those associated with it," said President Eric F. Spina. "Our donors are saying they believe in the University of Dayton, in its students and in its future."

Jen Howe, vice president for advancement, said the University's priorities for growing the endowment to provide more scholarship support for promising students, and increasing assistance for hands-on learning and faculty and academic innovation continues to resonate with a wide group of donors.

"We are seeing our donors — people of all ages, new and returning donors, big gifts and small gifts — demonstrate great confidence in the institution. They want to ensure that UD has the resources it needs to move forward into the future," Howe said. "People are excited about our progress in making UD's strategic vision come to life and see their support as part of making that a reality."

A highlight of the year was One Day, One Dayton, the University's highly successful inaugural giving day, which raised $866,284 from 5,638 donors — 1,585 of them making their first gifts to the University. 

Howe said the support of young alumni and students during Giving Day was especially strong, with 27% of donors coming from among current students and alumni who have graduated in the last 10 years. University employees were also another strong group and increased their participation to 36%, a substantial increase over the previous year.

"These are simply spectacular results for our first Giving Day and show that those who know today's University of Dayton best — current students, recent alumni, faculty and staff — are passionate and supportive of the University and its trajectory."

Also during the past year, University President Eric Spina and Karen, his wife, made the first major gift of his presidential tenure, pledging $500,000. Most of the Spinas' gift is designated to establish the Joseph P. Spina Scholarship to honor his father, which will help support first-generation students with financial need mentored by the University's Multi-Ethnic Education and Engagement Center. The Spinas also designated a portion of their gift to that center, and to arts and athletics. 

"My father is a first-generation college graduate and the son of immigrants who was a science teacher and later a principal," Spina said. "He has  served others throughout his life, especially those marginalized by society. As he has inspired his children and grandchildren to value education, a scholarship for students with need is a fitting way to honor a singularly great man."

University fundraising efforts are off to a good start for 2019-20, with a $6 million gift from a couple who wish to remain anonymous. The bulk of the gift  — $5 million — will go toward accelerating key University initiatives in student access and affordability, hands-on learning and supporting faculty and staff innovation, and $1 million will go to athletics. 

For example, the gift will fund 20-25 Flyer Promise Scholars during the next five years. Flyer Promise is a new initiative that makes affording a University of Dayton education possible for highly qualified students who otherwise would not be able to attend UD. 

It will also create the new Fund for Entrepreneurial Excellence to deepen students' entrepreneurial learning by extending their experiences into local community partnerships. The fund will support student collaborations with entrepreneurs in the Arcade Innovation Hub and in the development of a new West Dayton business incubator, and establish a microfinance program managed by business students for underserved communities. 

The gift will also establish a new program that will help free up time for faculty and staff members to pursue new product development that leads to start-up companies and to work with regional and national entrepreneurs to accelerate the growth of other start-ups. It is expected to be particularly helpful in supporting Research Institute employees.


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