UA Little Rock sets fundraising record, endowment tops $80 million

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock raised $20 million in private gift support during the fiscal year that ended June 30, marking an 11% increase over the previous fiscal year. This also marked the largest fundraising year in the university’s history since receiving gifts for the Jack Stephens Center and the Windgate Center for Art and Design.

More than 7,600 individuals, corporations, and private foundations gave 26,366 gifts between July 1, 2018, and June 30, 2019. This is the third consecutive year of gift growth. New endowments totaled $2,774,937, bringing UA Little Rock’s total endowment to more than $80 million.

 “These gifts from our generous donors support efforts to maintain our distinction as a recognized research university while advancing the social and economic well-being of our students and the community,” said Chancellor Andrew Rogerson. “Making college education affordable remains a top priority for UA Little Rock. With the help of private philanthropy, the university is able to make a college education more affordable and ensure this generation has access to a world-class education close to home.”

One of the largest gifts this year includes a $754,000 gift from the Windgate Foundation supports the Windgate Center for Art and Design and its programs.

“The fundraising success UA Little Rock is experiencing is possible thanks to the generous donations of alumni, parents, foundations, friends, and businesses,” said Christian O’Neal, vice chancellor for university advancement. “Our donors are helping to grow our city, our campus, and giving students a world of opportunity. We are extremely grateful for their support in changing lives.”  

Trojan Athletics received more than $3 million this year. The Donaghey Foundation helped fund a $725,000 renovation of the Donaghey Athletic Center on UA Little Rock’s campus. The project provided significant upgrades and much-needed enhancements that have allowed the athletic program to better serve and prepare student-athletes for success. This investment has also helped the athletic program with recruitment of student-athletes and with competition for championships.

All 15 Division I Trojan athletic programs are benefitting from several legacy gifts totaling more than $1 million from donors. Some of the gifts were in the form of three naming rights throughout the Jack Stephens Center. The Lot 16 entrance on the northwest corner is named the Dr. Bob Young Entrance. The student-athlete entrance, located on the ground floor, is the Mary and Rick Edwards Family Entrance. The Athletic Administrative offices located on the third floor are named the Patricia and Mark L. Pollack Athletics Suite. Included in the suite is the Victor Jacuzzi Family Office of Director of Athletics.  

“The Little Rock Trojans continue to benefit from tremendous support from our community,” said Chasse Conque, vice chancellor and director of athletics.This past year provided another strong fundraising campaign leading to nearly $7.5 million in support over the past two years which has directly enhanced our student-athlete experience. We are most grateful to our loyal supporters who continue to invest in Little Rock’s Team and our mission of graduating champions.”

“Our development team is dedicated to changing lives through education,” added Holly Rose, executive director of development. “It is through their work with our generous donors that we can provide students a quality, affordable education, some of the best facilities and programs in the region, and teaching excellence.”

Other noteworthy achievements in FY 2019: 

  • The university awarded $1.52 million in private scholarships, an all-time high. These scholarships helped students with tuition, books, and other school-related expenses. Some students who were near graduation but had particularly dire financial hardships received “Last Mile” funds to help them complete their degree.
  • The UA Little Rock Alumni Association membership grew to a record 3,300 members  and raised $113,452 in online gifts from 131 donors in one day. The popular Taste of Little Rock event also generated $141,000 in sponsorships, ticket sales, and in-kind and general donations. 
  • First-ever nationwide development efforts celebrated alumni in 21 cities across America. University events were held in Atlanta; Austin; Chicago; Dallas; and Hollywood.
  • $100,000 in private funding was awarded to 100 students for Signature Experience grants to pursue research and creative endeavor projects. This is the second year that UA Little Rock students could receive grants to work on faculty-mentored projects, allowing them to gain knowledge and skills to compete in a competitive work workforce after graduation. 
  • Forty-six percent of benefits-eligible employees donated through the annual faculty and staff giving campaign, demonstrating an investment in future students, faculty, and staff.

In the photo above right, a student discusses her breast cancer research with a group of students during the Research and Creative Works Expo. UA Little Rock awarded $100,000 in research grants to 100 undergraduate students this year. The grants were made possible by private donations from university supporters.  Photo by Benjamin Krain

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