’18-19 Fundraising 2nd Best in UC Davis History

Barbara Linke, associate professor of engineering, leads a class in which Matt Llanes (blue shirt) is among the students participating in a mechanical design contest.
Barbara Linke, associate professor of engineering, leads a class in which Matt Llanes (blue shirt) is among the students participating in a mechanical design contest. The College of Engineering received $18 million in philanthropic gifts in 2018-19. (Gregory Urquiaga/UC Davis)

By Trevor Stewart

The University of California, Davis, posted its second-highest development year ever in fiscal 2018-19, raising $234 million from 36,800 donors.

“Our fundraising success goes far beyond dollars and cents — it truly makes a positive impact on the lives of those within the UC Davis community,” Chancellor Gary S. May said.

Take Kendra Hall ’19, for example, a 34-year-old single mother who earned her bachelor’s degree in June. She grew up in extreme poverty as the eldest of three daughters raised by a single mother. At 19 she became pregnant and dropped out of school to get married; by 22, she was a single parent with two daughters of her own.

Hall worked low-wage jobs, struggling to raise and care for her daughters. At one point, she lost hope of ever having a better life. But the generosity of donors has given her assistance from scholarships, and she will now be able to provide a better life for her family.

“I am so proud and truly grateful to be where I am today,” Hall said. “I look forward to one day giving back to UC Davis, because without philanthropy my undergraduate degree would not have been possible.”

Hall is one of myriad inspiring stories of donors changing lives.

“We would not be a top-tier university in the nation without the support and generosity of our donors,” said Shaun Keister, vice chancellor of Development and Alumni Relations and president of the UC Davis Foundation. “They are what propel UC Davis to be world leaders and innovators across many industries and areas of research.”

Chancellor May added: “My heartfelt gratitude goes out to all the generous donors who contributed to make sure our students, faculty and staff are able to pursue opportunities to make the world a better place.”

What philanthropy can do ...

Some of last year’s most impactful gifts are launching major initiatives across the university:

  • A $5 million gift to the Engineering Student Design Center, or ESDC — John ’69 and Mindy Baum’s gift will provide an expanded, visionary new space for students diving into creative and entrepreneurial ventures. The ESDC’s makeover includes a renovation and doubling in size to more than 21,000 square feet, encompassing the Student Startup Center, which serves as a launching pad for students’ entrepreneurial projects.
  • Fundraising achieved approximately 90 percent of the $40 million cost of the UC Davis Student-Athlete Performance Center — A generous gift by Bruce ’60 and Diane Edwards — the largest in UC Davis Athletics history — served as the lead private contribution, and other seven-figure contributions came from Bruce ’71 and Marie West and Mike ’76 and Renee Child. The Student-Athlete Performance Center will include training facilities; a sports medicine center; a home for academic support and the Aggie EVO System; offices for multiple sport programs; and a multipurpose, natural grass practice field.
  • A $1.5 million gift for innovation and entrepreneurship in engineering — This first-ever gift to the university by alumnus and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Prem Chand Jain M.S. ’77 and his family established the Prem Chand Jain Family Presidential Chair in the College of Engineering. The gift fulfills the family’s wish to give back by creating a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship that will help other engineering students into the future. The UC Office of the President provided $500,000 for the $2-million endowed chair.
  • $2 million raised through UC Davis’ third annual Give Day — This year’s Give Day, April 12-13, brought in a record-setting $2 million from 4,454 gifts from across campus and around the world, including gifts from 46 states and 16 countries. And Give Day garnered support from those closest to campus as well. Donors included 659 employees, 157 students and 448 UC Davis parents. Give Day benefits students as well as programs and initiatives in nearly all UC Davis colleges, schools and units, including UC Davis Health.

Leading the way in fundraising was the School of Veterinary Medicine with more than $49.5 million. Right on its heels was the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences with $48 million, while the School of Medicine rounded out the top three with $46.8 million.

“It’s a great day to be an Aggie,” said Bruce West, chair of the UC Davis Foundation. “I am proud to be an alumnus of UC Davis and am grateful to my fellow alumni and our donors for their partnership. Thanks to them and their unwavering support, UC Davis will continue to grow as one of the world’s best public research universities.”