Fundraising campaign reaches $80-million mark


McMaster's “Changing Tomorrow Today” campaign has caught the attention – and support – of hundreds of alumni, faculty, staff and corporate sponsors.

At the end of January, campaign donations reached the $80-million mark, or 80 per cent of the total. With a target of $100 million, the three-year campaign is the most ambitious fundraising venture by the University in its 113-year history.

When the campaign was officially launched on Sept. 29, $72.6 million had already been raised or pledged. Most of these donations were made by large foundations and corporations during what is known as “the quiet phase” of the campaign. An important component of any fundraising initiative, these large gifts give a campaign a running start.

According to campaign director Lorna Somers, that momentum hasn't flagged and donations, both large and small, are coming in on a daily basis. “We are delighted with how well the campaign has done to date.”

The fact that the quiet phase generated such an immediate response is a credit to the work done by University President Peter George, the Campaign Cabinet volunteers and the Faculty deans, she says. And she is confident that the final phase, which focuses on alumni and individuals, will realize its goal despite the fact that typically the last leg of a fundraising campaign can be the most difficult.

Of the $80,122,000 received, corporate donations represent 29 per cent of this amount. However, individuals have given 34 per cent of the total, while alumni have contributed 12 per cent. Together, personal donations make up almost half (46 per cent) of the $80 million.

Roger Trull, executive director, University Advancement, is not too surprised by this. “One of our objectives (in this campaign) was to increase the amount of giving from alumni and individuals.”

Typically, 70 per cent of charitable giving in North America comes from individuals, he notes. McMaster was lagging in this respect. Trull compliments the work by volunteers in this area and hopes that the final tally will result in a 60-40 split in favour of individual donations.

Two factors have directly affected the campaign's overall success to date, Trull says: “The excitement around the campaign priorities and excellent volunteer support.”