First $100M-Plus Fundraising Year in UVA Darden History Powers New Scholarships, Faculty, Facilities


By Jay Hodgkins

Newswise — The University of Virginia Darden School of Business announces an all-time record for fundraising in a fiscal year, with $102.9 million in new commitments.

Combined with $20.1 million in matching funds from UVA’s Bicentennial Scholars Fund and Bicentennial Professors Fund, the total impact of philanthropy to the School for the 2019 fiscal year ended 30 June is $123 million.

The extraordinary results were led by the transformational gift from Frank M. Sands Sr. (MBA ’63) announced in May 2019 that delivers $82 million in total philanthropic impact through a $68 million gift and $14 million in matching funds from the Bicentennial Professors Fund.

“We have strong momentum as we approach the October public launch of Darden’s Powered by Purpose campaign in support of UVA’s Honor the Future campaign,” said Dean Scott Beardsley. “For the third year in a row, Darden has secured one of the best fundraising years in the history of the School, led by record-breaking results in reunion giving, planned giving and on GivingToHoosDay. I am pleased our donors are inspired by Darden’s strategic priorities, and that they align with their philanthropic passions. Although there is still much to do, these are exciting times as we position Darden as a globally preeminent institution shaping the future of graduate business education.”

2019 fiscal year fundraising highlights include:

  • $102.9 million in overall new commitments, an increase of 153 percent from the $40.6 million raised in the previous fiscal year
  • An additional $20.1 million from UVA’s Bicentennial funds, including $14 million from the Bicentennial Professors Fund to match $21 million from Sands’ gift, which creates the $35 million Sands Professorship Fund that will support 12 new faculty chairs at Darden
  • 4,258 alumni supported Darden with a donation in fiscal year 2019, a 2 percent increase over the previous fiscal year
  • Five new Principal Donors, the School’s highest designation for lifetime giving, which recognizes donors at the $1 million and above level; four additional Principal Donors reached new tiers within the giving society, including Sands, who will be recognized at the Jefferson ($25 million-plus) level
  • $5.6 million raised for the Darden Annual Fund with 37 percent alumni participation
  • More than 900 donors supported the annual fund at the Darden Society level, a 2 percent increase over the previous fiscal year, and more than 2,800 alumni continued their loyal support of the School as members of the Hickory Club
  • 99 percent of the graduating full-time MBA Class of 2019 made a gift to the School

New Records for Planned Giving, Reunion Giving, GivingToHoosDay

It was a year unlike any other for Darden in the area of planned gifts. Donors made 20 new planned gifts totaling $10.7 million — the most planned gifts documented and dollars raised in the history of the School.

Planned giving will be a critical part of fulfilling Darden’s aspirations for its Powered by Purpose campaign through additional support from areas such as estate plans, complex assets and real property.

Giving to the School by alumni in a reunion year also broke the all-time record, totaling $16.2 million. Three reunion classes leveraged the UVA Bicentennial Scholars Fund matching program to bolster support for class scholarships:

  • 1974 alumni honored a faculty member by establishing the Professor Derek A. Newton Bicentennial Scholars Fund.
  • The Class of 1989 established the Class of 1989 Bicentennial Scholars Fund, which will provide a half-tuition, need-based scholarship in perpetuity.
  • Class of 1994 alumni honored their classmate by endowing the Class of 1994 Michael D. Traina Scholarship, which will provide a half-tuition, need-based scholarship in perpetuity.

Darden also set a new record for alumni participation on GivingToHoosDay, with 1,530 donors — a 53 percent increase from the previous year’s event — raising more than $1 million. It marks the second consecutive year Darden donors have contributed more than $1 million in a single day to the Darden Annual Fund. Across UVA, Darden raised the most dollars of any school for the fourth consecutive year and, for the first time on GivingToHoosDay, earned the top spot for number of donors to an individual school or unit.

“On behalf of Darden’s current and future faculty, staff and students, I express my sincere gratitude to the Darden donors who have set a new bar for philanthropy to Darden,” said Kara Ramirez Mullins, Vice President for Advancement. “Their record-breaking generosity at the onset of the Powered by Purpose campaign positions Darden for incredible success delivering on its mission to inspire responsible leaders.”

“It takes powerful grassroots support and leadership to deliver the results and impact Darden achieved this fiscal year,” said Michael Woodfolk, president of the Darden School Foundation. “To that end, we thank the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees for their strategic vision and commitment to Darden’s purpose, without which we would not be in the outstanding position we are today to shape the School’s future.”

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.

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