Donations up by $25 million

With the state economy booming, the U is raking in donations.

Thus far, the school has pulled in nearly $25 million more in contributions than at this point last school year-$98 million compared to about $75 million in 2006.

While the U has a way to go to beat last year’s total, administrators are hopeful that a promising start will mean a better year overall.

“We’re on the right trajectory,” said U President Michael K. Young. “We’re working much harder to make the case for the good that donations can do.”

Though Young said a strong economy is partially responsible for the headway, he said the administration’s efforts and the generosity of donors is largely responsible.

“It’s not me that’s getting the money, it’s them,” Young said of his fellow administrators. “This is not an accident. It’s a very conscious effort by a lot of people.”

Donations to the U have begun to increase steadily after lagging for several years during the last economic recession, but they have yet to top the 1999-2000 record of almost $144 million.

“We had a really good stock market, then it went south-now it’s starting to grow significantly again,” said Fred Esplin, vice president for institutional advancement.

He said part of the increase is the result of corporate emphasis on funding for research. Corporations and corporate foundations were the largest source of contributors to the U last year, followed by private foundations and alumni.

Esplin said that as the U is gradually becoming a more “world-class” institution, fund-raising efforts have become more aggressive and projects have become more appealing to potential donors.

“There has been a real emphasis placed on telling our story to donors,” Esplin said. “The people who support us believe in the U, and the economy is good.”

Donations to the U fund a variety of areas on campus, including new buildings, research and student scholarships, according to a donor report from the U’s Development Office.