The University of Cincinnati and UC Health eclipsed their lofty $2 billion fundraising goal nearly a full year ahead of schedule.
Dollars raised through the years-long Next, Now: The Campaign for Cincinnati go toward student support, university programs, research, health care offerings and other signature initiatives. Funds have also supported the construction or renovation of several academic and athletic facilities.
Gifts to the campaign started coming in as early as 2013, but the public phase didn’t launch until 2019 at the end of the university’s bicentennial year. It continues through June 2024.
To date, more than 131,000 donors have given money to the campaign, including gifts of more than $212 million to support student scholarship and fellowships. Nearly 90% of gifts of those contributions have been for less than $1,000.
The UC Foundation – which leads fundraising efforts for the university and its various colleges – didn’t expect to reach $2 billion until next summer.
The foundation’s previous campaign, Proudly Cincinnati, raised $1.1 billion from 2005 to 2013.
UC Foundation President Peter Landgren called reaching the $2 billion mark an “astounding philanthropic milestone.” He noted that the achievement puts UC among a prestigious group of colleges and universities who’ve managed to reach that figure.
“While celebrating this transformative number, we want to thank and recognize every single donor who contributed,” Landgren added.
While hitting the goal merits a moment of pause and gratitude, UC doesn’t plan to slow down, said UC President Neville Pinto. The university plans to continue fundraising aggressively through June.
“Generosity leads to innovation and impact,” Pinto continued. “The start of our next 200 years has been remarkable, with the university receiving visionary gifts. I’m grateful for the investments in our students and university, and I’m excited about the campaign’s final year.”
During the campaign, UC Athletics launched the Day One Ready campaign, to support UC’s more than 450 student-athletes as part of the university’s move to the Big 12.
In May 2023, UC Athletics celebrated the largest gift in its history and broke ground on the multimillion-dollar indoor practice facility and performance center.
Donations have also supported the construction of new facilities, patient care initiatives and research at UC Health, Greater Cincinnati’s only academic health care system. This includes investments for construction of the UC Gardner Neuroscience Institute, an outpatient care and clinical research facility; renovation of the inpatient neuroscience intensive care unit at University of Cincinnati Medical Center; and construction of the new emergency department at UC Medical Center that opened in July.
“Philanthropy plays an integral role in the success of UC Health and its ability to provide our region with world-class patient care and solutions,” said Cory Shaw, CEO and president of UC Health. “I’m thankful for the significant investments that highlight our supporters’ faith in our ability and elevate our community.”
In a release, university officials described the contributions so far as being “transformational” to the development of its campuses and students. They highlighted how the dollars are helping the school make major advancements in three key areas.
Empowering our next leaders
The more than $210 million in UC scholarship gifts includes more than $43 million from corporate and foundation partners.
One of the largest gifts came from alumnus Jim Goetz. His $25 million donation inspired the renaming of the Engineering Research Center to the Mantei Center in honor of Thomas Mantei, a longtime UC professor and current emeritus professor. The donation also led to the creation of the Marian Spencer Scholars program, which offers full rides to top-performing Cincinnati Public School graduates.
The UC College of Medicine received an anonymous donation to establish the Webster-Gustin Medical Scholarship. It provides full tuition for 40 students.
A $9 million donation from alum Richard Thornburgh and his wife, Cornelia, aims to empower students enrolled in the Carl H. Lindner College of Business through a mixture of fellowship and honors programs. The funding also supports a scholarship for student-athletes who are business majors. The Thornburghs have collaborated with the UC Women’s Excellence Fund to provide additional resources to UC’s women’s sports programs and spirit squads.
Explore our next frontier
Through the campaign, UC received more than 7,862 gifts, totaling more than $214 million, to focus on various innovations, including in medicine. Many of those dollars are going toward new University of Cincinnati Cancer Center programs in survivorship care.
Craig and Frances Lindner, for example, committed $15 million to support Dr. John Byrd and his team’s work at the future Blood Cancer Healing Center.
A $5.5 million gift from Bernard Osher and The Bernard Osher Foundation established the Osher Center for Integrative Health at UC.
Funding across campuses led to the creation of 26 endowed faculty chair positions.
Embrace our next purpose
Because of the campaign, UC was able to construct, modernize or renovate significant buildings across its campuses – UC Health, the Carl H. Lindner College of Business and College of Law, to name a few.
Signature athletic facilities, such as Fifth Third Arena and Nippert Stadium, received major upgrades to support its move into a new athletic conference.