Support for Fairfield increased 30 percent to $6.29 million in 1997


Thousands of benefactors - like the moms and dads who provide financial assistance to their children and grandchildren out of love and in hope for a bright future - went "beyond themselves," providing gifts to help Fairfield underwrite the costs of operating and enhancing its programs, facilities and services.

In the last fiscal year ending June 30, fund-raising for the University excluding pledges totaled $6,292,421, a 30 percent increase over 1996, it was announced by George Diffley, vice president for Advancement. In addition, the total number of donors increased 14.5 percent to 7,805, while the number of alumni donors increased 12 percent to 5,624.

Unrestricted gifts from alumni, parents and friends totaled $2,153,659 which included $1.9 million from the Annual Fund and a $240,000 bequest from a deceased alumnus. The proceeds went to help support areas such as the library, technology and financial aid.

Of the $6.29 million total, alumni gave $2.7 million or 43 percent. Over 12,000 gifts were made from the 7,805 donors.

"Beyond generating much needed revenue, the upswing in participation reflects a sense of pride in the University. Alumni, in particular, are demonstrating the value they place on their Fairfield degrees by supporting the University's Annual Fund," said Clare Schimpf, director of the Annual Fund. "AACSB accreditation of the School of Business, three of our students receiving Fulbright Scholarships, the thrill of watching five Fairfield teams capture MAAC championships - these and other countless factors in just the past year have dramatically increased the pride of alumni, and is reflected in the increased number of donors."

If you're like many families, your paycheck is spent before you receive the stub -- but not on frivolous things, mind you. For a family of five, one's hard-earned pay is spent on food and more food, clothes for the kids who outgrow their duds six months after they're purchased, doctors' bills (they get sick often), and, of course, the monthly mortgage or rent. Investing in the future becomes a luxury.

If there are a few dollars left over, they may go to a fund for the kids' education or a down payment or a much-needed vacation; unless, of course, they're not consumed by the unforeseen expense like the necessary car repair or new washer.

The University is not unlike the young family trying to make ends meet and raise enough money to spend it on the education of its kids. It has to pay the bills for electricity, food and the maintenance of its buildings. It also has to pay its faculty and staff, purchase lab and computer equipment, and underwrite student activities so that its students can maximize their opportunities to obtain a Jesuit education. Tuition and fees, which are the main sources of budgetary revenue, fall short in funding these priorities so the University relies on the Annual Fund to make up the difference and ensure its commitments are fulfilled.

"Gift income complements the budgeting process and puts the University in a position to enhance its programs and maintain fiscal stability," said Fredric Wheeler, associate vice president for development. "It permits some things to occur that otherwise would not. It's not always crystal clear; sometimes we take it for granted. Gift support helps Fairfield enhance the educational experience for students by underwriting such critically important areas as scholarships, the acquisition of state of the art technology and library development."

Other highlights of the 1997 fiscal year include:

  • The receipt of $600,000 in bequests which is significant because it is realizing some of the benefits of a maturing deferred gifts program, Wheeler said, citing the role of Planned Giving Director Jim Reilly.
  • Significant gifts during 1996-97 included $181,000 from the Bennett Family Foundation for the Judaic Studies chair, $122,000 from the PepsiCo Foundation for Russian Studies, and $184,000 from SCG for clinical and scholarship opportunities at the School of Nursing.
  • The President's Circle membership rose to 770 from 680, reflecting growth in alumni participation, a good economy, and a refined effort on the part of the Annual Fund staff.

In addition, income this year from the Fairfield Awards Dinner, which provides scholarships for AHANA students, was $250,000, up from $190,000 in 1996. Diffley attributed the increase to the Awards Dinner having established itself as a strong, traditional event which has developed a dependable corps of individual and corporate donors, and the "terrific" leadership of (Chairman) Tom Quick, class of 1977.

Wheeler said the track record for fund-raising has been steady and dependable. Gift income receipts over the past five years totaled $26 million of which $9.4 million was unrestricted. This total does not include pledges. "If you look at endowment growth, alumni support and average size of gifts, we compare favorably to institutions of similar size."

Wheeler attributed Development's progress to the "renewed collaborative effort" between Advancement and academic leadership that is creating new traditions. "The University is realizing the rewards," he said.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647, nhabetz@fairfield.edu

Posted on August 1, 1997