It Was a Very Good Year

Across-the-board gains in capital projects, scholarship and endowment support, the arts, athletics, and estate gifts add up to a record $30.4 million

Occidental raised a record $30.4 million in outright gifts and new pledges in fiscal year 2014-15, exceeding the previous record set just prior to the recession. The 2014-15 total surpasses the previous record of $28.5 million set in 2006-07, aided by a substantial rise in estate gifts—a total of $6 million, roughly three times the recent average.

"This year's record total is in part a demonstration of the importance of gift planning by donors who looked ahead and generously included Oxy in their estate plans," says Shelby Radcliffe, Occidental's vice president for institutional advancement.

"But just as significant is the fact that we saw increases in giving across the board—gifts for capital projects, for student scholarships, the arts, athletics, the Academic Commons, career-planning services, and most critically for the endowment," she adds. "With more than 6,000 donors this past year, we continue to raise the bar for our fundraising efforts."

Bucking a national trend, the number of donors to Occidental's Annual Fund—unrestricted gifts that can be applied directly to the operating budget—rose from last year, as did the average size of each gift, she adds. The Senior Class Gift campaign saw total giving increase fourfold over last year.

Overall, donors contributed $4.5 million to the Annual Fund, $6.5 million to capital projects, and $11.3 million to the endowment. Oxy also received an additional $1.6 million in government grants that was not included in the annual fundraising total.

During the first six years of President Jonathan Veitch's tenure, Oxy fundraising has averaged $20.6 million in gifts and pledges annually, compared to an average of $15.7 million per year during the previous decade.

As Veitch sees it, donors are responding to the substantial progress the College has made on its 2012 strategic plan. "Whether it's taking full advantage of our location in Los Angeles, increasing the scope and reach of our global programs, or providing scholarships to make Oxy accessible to talented students, we have consistently delivered on the strategic vision the Oxy community developed," he says.

"There is still much more to do," Veitch adds. "We have to continue to build the College's relatively modest endowment, which is the key to Oxy's future. But it's clear that we are gaining momentum."