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Cornell Annual Fund crosses $30 million mark for first time

Cornell Annual Fund/Provided
Cornell Annual Fund raised $30,086,159 through June 30, 2011, surpassing a long-standing goal of $30 million.

In the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2011, the Cornell Annual Fund raised $30,086,159, surpassing a long-standing goal of $30 million and setting an all-time record.

"At the onset of the campaign, we laid out the ambitious goal of doubling our Annual Fund by 2011 and reaching $30 million or more," explained Joe Lyons '98, the fund's director. Thanks to an exceptional number of alumni, students, parents and friends, that goal has become a reality sooner than we'd even hoped. Now we need continued support to sustain the growth and keep the forward momentum."

Annual Fund gifts are unrestricted, current-use gifts that donors can direct toward a handful of general areas -- including undergraduate colleges, professional schools, undergraduate student aid and major universitywide units such as athletics. While $30 million represents only about one-tenth of all charitable gifts to the university in a given year (excluding those to Weill Cornell Medical College), it has a disproportionally large impact on Cornell's ability to support its top priorities, according to President David Skorton.

"What is amazing about the Cornell Annual Fund is that it is the collective effort of thousands of people who love Cornell, care about the university's important work and are willing to make an investment in Cornell's future by giving resources we can use today," Skorton said. "It would require an unrestricted endowment in excess of $650 million to provide the same spending power."

More than 32,000 alumni, students, parents and friends made Annual Fund gifts in fiscal year 2011, up from 26,000 donors in 2005. Those gifts were solicited by students, staff and volunteers throughout the world. Each year the Annual Fund relies on a base of more than 350 volunteers and more than 150 students in the Senior Class Campaign and the Cornell Annual Fund Student Phoning Program.

"This is truly a milestone accomplishment by hundreds of dedicated alumni and parent volunteers and most of all, of course, our committed and generous Annual Fund donors across all cohorts and giving levels," said Robert Katz '69, national chair of the Annual Fund. "Our goal was an ambitious, if not audacious, one, and we achieved it. Most important, we have doubled the deployable, tactical dollars in the hands of our president, provost, deans and major program directors to meet needs and capture opportunities in response to change.

"We have arrived at a new and special place, and the challenge now is to stay here and thus assure our administrative and academic leaders that they can rely on this level of support each and every year."

Emily Sanders Hopkins is a staff writer in the Office of Alumni Affairs and Development.


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