URI to launch public phase of its Making A Difference Campaign

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KINGSTON, R.I. – October 3, 2007—The University of Rhode Island will celebrate the success of the leadership gift segment of its Making A Difference fundraising campaign, and kick off the public gift phase at a gala black-tie event Saturday, Oct. 13 at the Westin Hotel in Providence. During the ceremonies, the University will also recognize the achievements of its alumni and friends, including four individuals who will receive the 2007 President’s Distinguished Achievement Award and 26 individuals named to the colleges’ Dean’s Lists, an honorary designation by the academic deans.

With a $100 million goal, URI’s campaign is one of the largest currently being undertaken by a non-profit entity in Rhode Island. More than $50 million in commitments has been raised during the leadership or “silent” phase of the campaign.

The Making A Difference campaign is the University’s second, comprehensive capital campaign in 15 years. Between the two campaigns, the University also undertook three successful building campaigns.

The Making A Difference campaign seeks to recruit and retain outstanding faculty, enhance the student-centered campus experience, provide undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, and fund cutting-edge academic and research initiatives.

The University’s newest campaign focuses on substantially adding to its endowments that support students, faculty, academic programs, and the Library—endowments that are critical to URI’s long-term strength, vitality, and reputation. The market value of the endowment as of March 31, 2007 was $85.4 million.

“This is an important time in the history of our state university,” says URI 1975 alumnus Thomas Ryan, president and CEO of CVS Caremark and chair of URI’s campaign. “Making a Difference is about investing in the future to ensure that tomorrow’s students will benefit from the same high-quality education that generations before them received at URI. We need support from all alumni and friends of the University to make this happen.”

“Today, all major universities require resources from both public and private sources,” says URI President Robert L. Carothers. “This is especially so at the University of Rhode Island where serving our students well means that we must generate more and more of our own funding. This campaign moves us aggressively toward the goal of being a self-sustaining institution, highly productive and highly competitive.”

“The more than $50 million raised during the first stage of the campaign exceeds our goal, and easily surpasses the projections of the campaign feasibility study,” noted Robert Beagle, vice president for University Advancement. “The campaign is now well positioned to not only reach our $100 million goal, but exceed it in 2010.”

More than 180 new endowments exceeding $20 million have been received in support of students, faculty, and academic programs. These gifts range from $10,000 to $1 million, with most at the $25,000-plus level. Nearly $5 million has been generated in planned gifts.

Approximately 86 percent of incoming freshman in 2005 relied on loans to pursue their education, and the cost of a college education continues to grow. By increasing the number of endowed scholarships, URI can help keep the higher education door open for students struggling to make ends meet. Scholarships can also help URI compete for academically talented students who are being aggressively recruited by other colleges and universities.

The University also has new gift commitments to various capital building projects including the Student-Athlete Development Center, the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences, the Student Wellness Center, the International Center for Students and Scholars, and the Ocean Exploration Center and Pell Marine Sciences Library.

The remaining $25-plus million of the commitments come from a variety of foundations, corporations, or individuals. The gifts support the Fund for URI, which provides flexible funding that can be put to immediate use to support student, faculty, and alumni programs, the Rhode Island Rams Athletic Association, the fundraising arm of URI’s Athletic Department, scholarships, and programs, or awards.

Link here for more information on the Making A Difference campaign.