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HomeCampus LifePhilanthropic Gifts to US Colleges Exceed $52B: Survey

Philanthropic Gifts to US Colleges Exceed $52B: Survey


New data from the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) found that donations from philanthropic organizations, alumni, and other contributors increased 6.9 percent in 2021.

Key findings from the Voluntary Support of Education (VSE) survey — the leading news source of philanthropy in US higher education — showed that total giving in fiscal 2021 amounted to $52.9 billion. 

More than half of the donations (56.3 percent) came from foundations and alumni, with 33.1 percent and 23.3 percent, respectively. The remaining contributions came from non-alumni individuals (16.6 percent), corporations (13.2 percent), and other groups (13.9 percent). 

“The incredible generosity during the most challenging period in generations demonstrates how strongly alumni and other supporters value colleges and universities in the United States,” CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham said.

Forbes reported that alumni giving and gifts from those classified as “other organizations” jumped 10.8 and 9.1 percent, respectively, compared to last year.

“As the nation’s institutions focused on their missions of teaching students, engaging in vital research, and serving the needs of their students and communities during an unprecedented year, people took notice and invested in the transformational work conducted at America’s colleges and universities,” Cunningham added.

Recent Philanthropic Gifts

Among the colleges and universities to receive charitable donations was the University of Pennsylvania, which received $125 million from Estée Lauder heir, providing grants to graduate nursing students so they can graduate with no student debt.

The University of California, Irvine also received a whopping $57.7 million from the estate of deceased philanthropist Audrey Steele to create a state-of-the-art depression research center. 

Kirkland & Ellis — a law firm that represented historically Black colleges and universities in a 15-year suit against the state of Maryland — also gave its $12.5 million settlement fee to HBCUs and nonprofit organizations.

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