Washington State University ended fiscal year 2006 with a 9.1 percent increase in private support over the previous fiscal year. The university reached its second highest mark in the WSU Foundation’s 27-year history with $54,116,173 in gifts and private grants during FY 2006, which ended June 30.
“The commitment to excellence demonstrated by the more than 53,000 donors is truly remarkable,” said WSU Foundation President Len Jessup. “Private support is critical to the university’s ability to offer scholarships for deserving students, carry out cutting edge research, attract and retain top faculty, and provide the margin of excellence across all programs at Washington State University.”
Fiscal year 2006 is second only to FY 1996 as the most successful year for private support, which tallied more than $55.5 million in private gifts and grants. However, using the currently accepted gift counting standards of the national university foundations group which were not in effect ten years ago, WSU experienced its best fundraising year ever in FY 2006. For example, Alumni Association membership dues can no longer be counted as gifts and some planned gifts, such as Unitrusts and gift annuities, can no longer be counted at full face value.
“When we adjust for these much stricter counting policies, FY 2006 is by all measures the most successful year in terms of real dollars in the door in the history of Washington State University,” said Jessup.
The WSU Foundation attributes its success in FY 2006 to several factors, including the University’s strong leadership in recent years.
“The University has seen an unprecedented period of growth and quality under the leadership of its last three presidents,” said Mikal Thomsen, Chair of the WSU Foundation Board of Governors. “This growth in quality, combined with a loyal alumni base and a renewed commitment to efficiency and professionalism in generating private support on the part of the WSU Foundation, significantly influenced the level of success we experienced this past year.”
For the fifth straight year, the number of President’s Associates—individuals and organizations contributing $1,000 or more annually—has set a participation record with more than 5,218 members in 2005-06, a 6.1 percent increase over the previous fiscal year. President’s Associates gifts totaled $33,777,867, representing 62.4 percent of the total private support during FY 2006.
“The continued growth of the President’s Associates program demonstrates our donor’s high-level of dedication to WSU and the confidence they have in the caliber of research and quality of the education being generated by our faculty, staff, and students every day,” said WSU President V. Lane Rawlins. “Through their unwavering commitment and generosity as donors, they have established themselves as leaders in the advancement of Washington State University.”
The alumni gift participation rate also increased from 14 percent to more than 16.3 percent despite the addition of 4159 new alumni in FY 2006. The student-operated Call-A-Coug telephone outreach program generated a record $2.5 million in pledges, with $1.9 million pledges fulfilled as of June 30. This represented a pledge fulfillment rate of more than 85 percent, completed to just 65 percent in FY 2005.
Among the many highlights of private support in FY 2006 was the creation of the largest endowed chair in WSU’s history. The fulfillment of a $3 million pledge from John W. (Jack) and Janet M. Creighton established the Corps of Discovery Endowed Chair in the Department of History. As the department’s first endowed chair, the Corps of Discovery Chair will be used to attract a top faculty expert in the history of the American West and will help fund symposia, travel, and graduate study related to the field.
“The Corps of Discovery Chair should be transformational directly in the field of American West history because WSU’s history department has been strong in that field for several decades,” said John E. Kicza, interim chair for the Department of History. “This chair will, without doubt, elevate substantially the department’s reputation in the academic community and our ability to attract quality faculty and graduate students.”
The WSU Foundation’s endowment also finished the year at $263.3 million, an increase of 11.9 percent over the previous year and the endowment’s rate of investment return for FY 2006 was 13.1 percent. As of June 30, the endowment ranked in the 16th percentile according to the Wilshire Cooperative Universe index, a database of pooled performance data from various consulting firms that includes data from more than 200 educational institutions.