Report on Fundraising
Brown continued to build on the record-breaking fundraising success of the previous year during Fiscal Year 2020. Because of the strong ties it has built with alumni, parents and friends, and its unwavering emphasis on service to society through teaching, research and public outreach, the University was able to maintain an impressive level of philanthropy despite the economic downturn brought about by the global coronavirus pandemic.
More than 32,000 donors committed a total of $321.2 million in new gifts and pledges, making this the third-most successful fundraising year in the University’s history. This total included $68 million in planned gifts and realized bequests from more than 144 donors, as well as multimillion-dollar support for undergraduate financial aid, brain science, environmental science, and international and public affairs. Non-alumni parents contributed more than $75 million in FY20, and international alumni, parents and friends donated a total of $38 million across a range of priorities. As a result, Brown surpassed the mark of $2.5 billion raised toward the ultimate goal of $3 billion for the BrownTogether comprehensive fundraising campaign.
With the shift to full remote instruction and telecommuting three quarters of the way through the fiscal year because of COVID-19, Brown experienced significant financial losses resulting from partial refunds of room and board and the cancellation of residential summer programs. At the same time, the University incurred the new costs of COVID testing programs, infrastructure changes to support public health, increases in financial aid and other expenses related to support for employees and students.
Members of the Brown community contributed a total of $22.3 million for coronavirus-related funds, including the President’s Response Fund and the Student Emergency Support Fund, administered by the College. Many students faced unexpected financial challenges in their lives away from campus with their families. To help alleviate these burdens, the University established the Student Emergency Support Fund as a special initiative within the Brown Annual Fund.
This exceptional generosity helped offset the costs of mid-semester travel for students, technology requirements for remote learning, enhancement of digital course delivery, and other unexpected student and faculty needs.
The following sections provide a snapshot of Fiscal Year 2020’s progress in the BrownTogether campaign’s key areas of focus: Our People, Education and Research, Campus and Community, and the Brown Annual Fund.
Goal: $1.05 billion
Raised as of June 30, 2020: $670 million
Brown community members committed more than $55 million to undergraduate financial aid this fiscal year, which represents an increase of more than $10 million compared with FY19. The University focused on raising endowment funding to make The Brown Promise a permanent part of its financial aid program. Brown launched the Promise initiative in FY18 to remove packaged loans from all University undergraduate financial aid awards. With $23.5 million raised for the Promise in FY20, the University was able to help more than 1,500 students reduce or avoid loan debt. The University also kicked off an effort to provide more financial aid to student veterans this year as part of a plan to double the number of U.S. military veterans enrolled as undergraduates by 2024.
In addition, donors established four new endowed medical scholarships and contributed a total of $1.2 million to existing funds that support medical students. Taken together, FY20 gifts to financial aid have allowed the University to respond to the increased needs of students at the undergraduate, graduate and medical school levels due to national economic volatility.
Faculty support was also a major area of growth in FY20. Generous alumni, parents and friends created 15 new endowed faculty positions this year, bringing the total established during the BrownTogether campaign to 90. These include two leadership positions — the directorship of the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society and the directorship of the Howard R. Swearer Center for Public Service — and professorships at various levels in brain science, physics, economics, medicine and international affairs.
Endowed chairs give Brown the means to attract and retain the best teachers and scholars, strengthening teaching, research and community engagement. Broadening or deepening a department’s teaching and research capabilities in important areas expands opportunities for students.
Education and Research
Goal: $811 million
Raised as of June 30, 2020: $940 million
One of the BrownTogether campaign’s major priorities is to build upon the University’s strengths in areas where the University can lead, and where research and scholarship can translate into meaningful solutions to society’s biggest challenges. This year, donor support expanded the University’s capacity for groundbreaking discovery and timely discussions in a variety of fields, including brain science, environmental science, race and ethnicity, public health, and medicine.
The Robert J. and Nancy D. Carney Institute for Brain Science attracted more than $30 million in funding to foster innovation across its research programs. The Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity in America received a Mellon Foundation grant to connect scholars studying social issues related to race and ethnicity, and also accepted a donor-established research fund to support its programmatic activities.
The Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society each eclipsed $10 million in fundraising, with a significant portion of their totals being dedicated to support of faculty and postdoctoral research, as well as graduate and undergraduate student engagement in their research agendas. The Pembroke Center for Teaching and Research on Women raised more than $800,000 in FY20.
New support for the Division of Biology and Medicine has allowed both clinical and research faculty to contribute new knowledge and approaches to the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19, in addition to the division’s ongoing work with Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, reproductive health and addiction. The University recently established the Cancer Center at Brown University, which involves 150 investigators conducting basic, clinical and population research. Gifts and grants have provided the center’s affiliated faculty with more than $40 million to support research and clinical trials.
Donors also provided funding this year to expand experiential learning opportunities. A $10 million fund was established to provide support for students on financial aid who wish to participate in summer internship and research opportunities. A second fund of $1 million was established at the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society to support undergraduate engaged learning related to climate change. Although many of these opportunities have shifted to remote experiences as a result of the pandemic, Brown is committed to expanding access to learning opportunities beyond the classroom.
Campus and Community
Goal: $750 million
Raised as of June 30, 2020: $532 million
Through the BrownTogether campaign, the University seeks to boost the competitive excellence of its athletic programs and enhance the overall student-athlete experience. This year, donors contributed more than $17 million to Brown Athletics, supporting a variety of teams and facilities upgrades. Approximately $4.8 million was raised for the renovation of Meehan Auditorium, home of the men’s and women’s ice hockey teams. Additional gifts were made to the Center for Lacrosse and Soccer, phase II of the Marston Boathouse renovation, and updates to the men’s and women’s basketball facilities in Pizzitola Memorial Sports Center.
The Brown University Sports Foundation (BUSF) held its first-ever giving day on Oct. 30, 2019, where it raised more than $1 million for the BUSF Athletics Annual Fund. Overall, Athletics received 34 gifts of $100,000 or more for capital projects, team endowments and current-use funding.
Fundraising continued this year for Brown’s new Performing Arts Center. Four major gifts to the project in FY20 brought the total raised to $179 million, representing 89.5% of the ultimate goal. Construction on the center has proceeded during the pandemic, although the completion of the building will be delayed somewhat.
Brown Annual Fund
Goal: $400 million
Raised as of June 30, 2020: $288 million
In fall 2019, the Division of Advancement launched a re-imagined Brown Annual Fund, transforming it into a family of funds that encompasses all annual giving opportunities. This includes The Brown Fund, which supports financial aid and provides immediate-use funding where it is most needed across the University; the Brown University Sports Foundation (BUSF) Athletics Annual Fund; and annual funds to support the School of Engineering, School of Public Health and Warren Alpert Medical School. In addition, three impact funds have been established under the Brown Annual Fund umbrella: the Pathways to Diversity and Inclusion Fund, the Campus Sustainability Fund, and the BrownConnect Fund. Despite the global pandemic, BrownConnect continues to take advantage of a digital platform that connects students with alumni for mentoring, advice and internships.
Overall, the Brown Annual Fund family of funds raised $43.5 million from more than 30,000 donors in FY20. This total was boosted by a record-breaking Giving Tuesday on Dec. 3, 2019, during which members of the community donated more than $3.7 million in a 24-hour period.
The Brown Fund finished at $32 million for the year, surpassing the FY19 total of $31.9 million. The Brown Medical Annual Fund raised more than $1.5 million, making it one of the top three fiscal years in the fund’s history, and the Athletics Annual Fund surpassed its goal of $3.6 million. The Parents Annual Fund also had a strong year, raising more than $7.6 million in current-use funding.
In addition, the Brown community raised $625,000 for the Inman Page Black Alumni Council Brown Annual Fund Scholarship, more than quadrupling the $131,000 raised for this purpose in FY19. This scholarship was established in June 2018 by the Inman Page Council to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1968 Black Student Walkout. This year, amid the backdrop of the pandemic, increased economic hardship, and protests worldwide against anti-Black racism, members of the Brown Class of 1995 stepped forward to substantially increase this fund. A Reunion honorary co-chair funded a $250,000 2:1 challenge, inspiring 181 additional members of the class to join in supporting the scholarship. As a result, the IPC BAF Scholarship is supporting seven students during the 2020-21 academic year.
The generosity of Brown’s donors continues to fund the University’s investments in its people and its community during an unprecedented time.
Fundraising Report contributed by Brown University’s Division of Advancement