UMSL sees more than 21 percent increase in fundraising during 2020 fiscal year

by | Jul 10, 2020

Successful initiatives like the UMSL Strong Scholarship and Triton Emergency Fund have helped the university support students during challenging economic times.
UMSL fundraising

UMSL raised more than $21 million in gifts, matching gifts and pledges in the 2020 fiscal year, an increase of more than 21 percent compared to 2019. (Photo by August Jennewein)

The University of Missouri–St. Louis completed a strong fundraising year amid a change in leadership and despite a challenging economic environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic in the final quarter.

UMSL raised more than $21 million in gifts, matching gifts and pledges in the 2020 fiscal year. The fundraising total was an increase of more than 21 percent from FY19 and came during a time when the university bid farewell to Chancellor Tom George after 16 years in September and celebrated the appointment of Kristin Sobolik as his permanent successor in April.

“We are so grateful to our many friends and donors who showed their support for UMSL and its unique mission as the only public research university in our region,” Sobolik said. “We know the impact this pandemic has had on everyone’s financial well-being, but that makes it even more important that we continue to provide high quality, affordable education, particularly for members of our most vulnerable communities. The support of our donors makes that possible.”

UMSL began seeking funds for the UMSL Strong Scholarship after the coronavirus began interrupting normal life this spring. The scholarship fund is specifically intended to support students impacted by dramatic economic upheaval threatening their ability to continue their education.

The university also created the Triton Emergency Fund in March to help students meet more immediate financial needs such as rent, utilities or transportation that have resulted from job loss or other emergencies.

The work of UMSL’s fundraising team has been critical in bringing resources to the university at a time when contracts and grants dipped compared 2019. UMSL has also been challenged by a cut in state funding.

Last month, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education honored UMSL with a 2020 CASE Educational Fundraising Award for Overall Improvement. The award recognized public research and doctoral institutions with endowments under $215 million that demonstrated significant program growth across the three years of data.

“The leadership that we have in key positions within Advancement has come together to understand the task at hand,” said Paul Herring, vice chancellor for university advancement. “We’ve been able to pull together and work well to elevate our Advancement office to accommodate societal needs but also the needs of the region and workforce.”

UMSL has now raised more than $57 million over the past three years with much of those funds going to support scholarship opportunities for students.

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Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik

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