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Washington and Lee Exceeds Fund-Raising Goals for 2011-2012

Washington and Lee University raised $32.1 million in new gifts and pledges in the 2011-12 fiscal year, while reaching new highs in the University’s Annual Fund in both the amount of dollar support and the percentage of alumni who donated.

The $7.8 million in gifts to the Annual Fund was the most in the University’s history and exceeded the goal by 5.3 percent over last year’s record result. For the second time in as many years, the percentage of participation by undergraduate alumni exceeded 50 percent, with 51.4 percent making gifts. W&L is one of fewer than 20 colleges in America where undergraduate giving exceeds 50 percent.

Alumni of the W&L Law School also had one of the highest participation rates in the country among law schools, with 41 percent of Law School alumni supporting Washington and Lee.

Giving by young alumni — graduates of the past 10 years — exceeded 50 percent for the first time. Overall, support for the W&L Annual Fund has increased by 78 percent during the past decade.

“We are grateful to the University’s alumni, parents and other supporters,” said Dennis Cross, vice president for advancement at W&L. “Their generosity is responsible for the University’s success in fund-raising each year, and the impressive results in 2011-12 reflect their loyalty and deep desire to support W&L’s students as well as the faculty and programs that make a Washington and Lee education such a transforming and memorable personal experience.

“Our donors share our confidence in the value and importance of a W&L liberal arts and legal education,” continued Cross. “More than 40 percent of the University’s operating budget each year comes from gifts made to the Annual Fund and to departments, and from the income of endowments established by supporters over the generations. They continue a proud tradition of philanthropy originated at this institution by George Washington.”

The $32.1 million in new gifts and pledges marked the sixth consecutive year that this category has exceeded $30 million. The total for new gifts and pledges was supplemented by the second best total of documented planned gifts since 2001.

Cash received during the year was $51.2 million, in the fifth consecutive year that this number has been above $51 million. As a result, $28.1 million was added to the University’s endowment.

Every gift in 2011-12 counts toward the University’s capital campaign, “Honor Our Past, Build Our Future.” W&L has now raised $380 million of its campaign goal of $500 million. The campaign, which was launched publicly in October 2010, continues through June 2015.

Other highlights of the 2011-12 fund-raising year:

  • Gifts to the Annual Fund from non-alumni parents reached a new milestone of $1.1 million, a 27 percent increase from 2010-11 and only the second time parents’ giving to the Annual Fund has exceeded $1 million.
  • Gifts to the Annual Fund from law alumni also reached new heights. The Law Annual Fund increased 8.1 percent to more than $952,000.
  • The President’s Society, recognizing the leadership donors to the Annual Fund, increased 12 percent to 867.
  • The 2012 Senior Class raised the most in the history of the program and achieved 69 percent participation.
  • Reunion classes committed a total of $3.8 million to the Annual Fund, $1.7 million more than the same classes contributed during their previous reunion year, in 2007. Fifty-four percent of alumni celebrating their reunions made an increased gift compared to last year.

Cross said that the success of University Advancement was aided and made possible by more than 2,000 volunteer roles held by alumni, parents, and friends of the University. These volunteers include class agents, leaders of 87 alumni chapters, reunion class leaders, Trustees, and members of several advisory boards. He also thanked the administration and staff of the University including University Advancement, which is comprised of the offices of Alumni Affairs, Communications and Public Affairs, Development, Law School Advancement, Special Events and Special Programs.