Hannah Poturalski

As Miami University’s For Love and Honor Campaign enters its seventh and penultimate year, it has $150 million left before meeting its goal.

Vice President for University Advancement Jayne Whitehead said she is cautiously optimistic that Miami will raise the remaining $150 million in the next 24 months, as the campaign ends in December 2010.

Associate Vice President for University Advancement Brad Bundy said the campaign’s goal to raise $500 million is 70 percent complete, with a current amount of $350 million raised.

Bundy said all of the money raised goes to support all 11 various colleges and campuses of the university and the divisions within those, as well as academic programs, libraries, athletics and construction projects.

Whitehead said the goal for this year is to reach $375 million and with this year being Miami’s bicentennial, she believes Miami is very fortunate because it will promote more donations.

“This is a wonderful opportunity to focus individual’s philanthropy and create a momentum to help carry us through a tough economic time,” Whitehead said.

Bundy agreed and added that it is one of Miami’s top priorities to work toward raising the money needed for the Bicentennial Student Center.

“We are aggressively working with alumni, because it is through their gifts that the Bicentennial Student Center will be made possible and it is a way for them to honor their institution,” Bundy said.

Bundy said that of the 180,000 current alumni, Miami is working with a pool of close to 2,500 who are considering donating major gifts to Miami. Major gifts are donations that exceed $25,000.

University President David Hodge agreed that many donors are carefully thinking about giving sizeable sums to Miami.

“Everybody that Miami has been talking to about large gifts is saying that they are definitely interested,” Hodge said. “There has been a remarkably strong continued interest on the part of donors.”

Hodge also said that focusing on smaller gifts, less than $10,000, seems like the natural thing to do when people are dealing with the economic downturn and nervous about their finances.

“Through TeleHawks and our vibrant direct mail program, we have received a very large volume of smaller gifts,” Bundy said.

Bundy said there have been a significant number of annual gifts, at around 30,000. Miami received 33,000 total gifts in 2008, from $1 donations to millions of dollars.

Whitehead said she was surprised giving did not decrease significantly, given the status of the economy.

Whitehead said there have been some cases where donors have had to lower their pledge payments or haven’t been able to fulfill their pledge payments.

“There was only one individual at the seven-digit level that was unable to make their pledge payments this year,” Whitehead said. “We are not overly concerned about that.”

Of the $350 million donated, almost $220 million of that has been given to the university as endowments, according to a report from Whitehead.

Endowments are donations that are invested and then a portion of the income each year supports whatever the donor wants it to go toward, be it a scholarship, professorship or various projects.

Along with alumni, Miami receives donations from parents of current and past graduates, corporations, foundations and even present employees.

According to the campaign Web site, faculty and staff have already pledged $8.5 million toward the campaign.