Oxy Sets New Fundraising Record

Thorne Hall

Occidental College raised a record $30.4 million in outright gifts and new pledges in 2014-15, exceeding the previous record set just prior to the recession and continuing a steady rise in giving to the College under President Jonathan Veitch.

The 2014-15 total surpassed the previous record of $28.46 million set in 2006-07 by a wide margin, aided by a substantial rise in estate gifts – a total of $6 million, roughly three times what is seen in an average year.

"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," said 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," Radcliffe said. "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 used for any purpose – rose from last year, as did the average size of each gift, she added. The Senior Class Gift campaign saw total giving increase fourfold over last year.

Overall, donors gave $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 $20.42 million in gifts and pledges annually, as compared to an average of $15.67 million per year during the previous decade.

Donors are responding to the substantial progress the College has made on its 2012 strategic plan, Veitch said.

"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," said Veitch.

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