Posted by Philip Poole on 2011-09-14

Samford University’s annual giving reached record levels for the fiscal year that ended June 30, with gifts totaling more than $35.3 million for the 12-month period. This is second only to 1990, when the university’s annual giving was $67.5 million and included more than $53 million from the estate of Ralph W. Beeson. Giving for the 2010 fiscal year had totaled about $21.6 million.

The fiscal 2011 total included a multi-million dollar gift from a charitable trust established by the late Frank Samford Jr., which the university had announced in May.

“The generosity of the Samford community is overwhelming, especially given the uncertain global economic climate,” said W. Randy Pittman, Samford’s vice president for advancement. “Even without the Samford family gift, it was a significant fundraising year for the university.”

Annual gifts are critical to Samford’s annual budget process, Pittman noted. Tuition and fees provide approximately 70 percent of the university’s annual revenue, so gifts and endowment earnings are crucial to cover the other 30 percent.

The significance of planned gifts also was evident in the near-record total, Pittman said. In addition to the Samford gift, the university received two other estate gifts of more than $1 million each. All had been established many years, and in some instances, decades ago.

“We often talk about sitting under the shade of trees we did not plant,” Pittman said, “to illustrate the importance of leaving a legacy. We’re building today on the legacy that was left years ago by so many others, including Frank Samford and Virginia Samford Donovan. Their astute planning and love for Samford University will ensure a strong financial foundation for the university’s future legacy.”

Several groups significantly increased their giving last year, according to Pittman. Alumni giving almost doubled – from $3.8 million in 2009-10 to about $7.1 million in 2010-11. Employee and student giving increased 250 percent, to about $656,000 this past year from $187,500 in 2009-10. This is important because many organizations use alumni giving as one factor in peer rankings, and employee giving also can be important in corporate and foundation funding.

The near-record year pushed the total of “The Campaign for Samford” to more than $125.3 million, Pittman said. The multi-million dollar, multi-year campaign is raising funds for scholarships, academic programs, faculty enhancement, facilities and other needs.


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Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.