Saint Augustine’s University (SAU) reported record-breaking fundraising for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. The institution raised $2,003,047.16 in cash donations and an additional $72,652.50 in in-kind donations for a total of $2,075,709.66, a 28.6% increase from the 2015-2016 fiscal year. Additionally, the University received $5,765,828 in grants, around $200,000 more than the previous fiscal year, for a grand total of $7,841,537.66.
In addition to receiving record donations, SAU saw a 33.7% increase in donor participation compared to the previous year. At the outset of the 2016-2017 fiscal year, the University set goals to increase donor participation and raise $1.5 to $2.0 million dollars for the Annual Fund, Special Gifts, and Scholarship campaign areas. The University met and surpassed both goals, continuing a three-year trend of steady increases in donations and donor participation.
Adding to the successful fundraising efforts for the 2016-2017 year, faculty and staff of the University generated funding from federal, state and private grants.
University president, Dr. Everett B. Ward, has made financial stability a high priority since his appointment in 2014. He stated, "It is through a strategic effort, the generosity of alumni, the Episcopal Church and other supporters of the University, and the diligence of faculty and staff, that we were able to see such tremendous success with our fundraising efforts. As our sesquicentennial celebration continues, we are already well into executing our strategy to keep up our momentum for the 2017-2018 fiscal year and beyond."
A few key events contributed to SAU's fundraising success. The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Jazz Brunch, an annual SAU-hosted fundraiser, netted $47,495, surpassing its $35,000 goal. The University aimed to raise $100,000 during its second annual Stone of Hope Gala, which was held in May 2017; that event raised over $355,000. During another fundraiser, Christ Church, a parish of the Episcopal Diocese of North Carolina, presented SAU with a $75,000 donation.
SAU also launched a number of initiatives to assist with fundraising. In celebration of SAU's sesquicentennial and in partnership with the National Alumni Association for SAU, the University established the 150 Club, whereby alumni and supporters of the University gained membership for a minimum donation of $150. To date, the 150 Club has collected $71,170, and is comprised of 282 club members. A Text2Give Program was initiated in May to allow donations via text message for scholarships, university operations or the 150 Club. Lastly, "$1.00 for Scholars," a student-led fundraising initiative, was organized to raise monies for student emergency scholarships. During this effort, students collected over $1,200 during a one-week period.
Now just a little over one month into a new fiscal year, SAU looks to continue its momentum. According to Dr. Steven E. Hairston, Vice President of Institutional Advancement and Chief Operating Officer at SAU, "We are very pleased with the results of last [fiscal] year's efforts and plan to continue an aggressive effort to build and enhance relationships with alumni, corporations and community organizations and foundations." SAU's 2017-2018 fiscal year began July 1, and the University is currently welcoming back students for the new academic year, which begins Wednesday, August 16.