Carolina Kicks Off $4.25 Billion Campaign

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Chancellor Carol L. Folt announces the launch of “For All Kind: The Campaign for Carolina,” which aims to raise $4.25 billion by Dec. 31, 2022. (Photo by Grant Halverson ’93)

The University has launched the most ambitious fundraising campaign by a university in the history of the state. “For All Kind: The Campaign for Carolina” aims to raise $4.25 billion by Dec. 31, 2022.

The campaign — focused on research and scholarship, leading by example and “ethos” — is the largest in the Southeast and the second-largest among public institutions in the nation. By comparison, Duke University recently concluded its Duke Forward campaign, which raised $3.85 billion.

The launch marked the end of the initial “quiet phase” of the campaign, in which $1.75 billion already has been raised from 137,000 donors.

Students, faculty, staff, alumni and volunteers joined Board of Trustees Chair Haywood Cochrane ’70, Chancellor Carol L. Folt and Vice Chancellor for Development David Routh ’82 for the announcement, which highlighted several gifts and initiatives supporting what UNC calls the “Blueprint for Next.”

The largest university fundraising campaign in the Southeast will continue for the next five years with a goal of $4.25 billion. Already, $1.75 billion has been raised from 137,000 donors.

“Our ambitious Campaign for Carolina unites us with a shared and meaningful vision for the future of our leading global public research university,” Folt said. “Underlying this clear vision lies the Blueprint for Next, a unifying strategic framework that guides our commitment to Carolina’s historic mission of providing superior educational opportunities at the best and most affordable price, conducting game-changing research, innovating for the public good and bringing health and prosperity to people in our state and beyond.”

In an event on historic Polk Place on Oct. 6, Folt and Routh announced several gifts and signature initiatives to kick off the campaign. By the end of the weekend, the University had announced more than $100 million in support of the campaign.

Among them are:

  • The Carolina Edge, a new campuswide scholarship program focused on recruiting top students. Nearly 25 percent of the campaign’s funds will help to expand Carolina’s commitment to access and affordability as the University relies on philanthropic gifts to meet its promise to students. The campaign seeks to raise $1 billion as part of this initiative for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships in areas such as the Carolina Covenant, middle-income scholarships, merit scholars, summer internship grants, athletics and graduate and professional school financial aid. Folt said the goal of the initiative was to “eliminate all financial barriers to education.”
  • A $50 million gift by Campaign for Carolina Chair John L. Townsend III ’77 (’82 MBA) and his wife, Marree Townsend ’77, benefiting several units on campus. They include $25 million in artwork to the Ackland Art Museum; $10 million to the College of Arts & Sciences, including an initial commitment to the Institute for the Arts and Humanities; $10 million to Kenan-Flagler Business School; more than $1 million to athletics; and a fifth portion to be allocated at a later date.
  • The continued expansion of the Ackland as a result of three major art gifts, collectively valued at $41.5 million and featuring an array of artists. The expansion supports one of the campaign’s signature initiatives, Arts Everywhere, a campuswide arts initiative that aims to revolutionize academics and enhance public service at Carolina by investing in sustained creative practice, live arts experiences and arts learning. The Townsends’ gift, which features a collection of 150 pieces of art by American and European modern masters, joins a $25 million commitment by Dr. Sheldon Peck ’63 (’66 DDS) and his wife, Leena Peck, announced in January, which included an $8 million endowment and a $17 million art gift. These commitments bring Ackland’s gift total for 2017 to $66.5 million.
  • The creation of the UNC Institute for Convergent Science, also a signature campaign initiative. By embracing this emerging model for scientific research, Carolina aims to tackle the world’s biggest problems through greater cross-disciplinary collaboration among students, researchers and entrepreneurs with the goal of speeding the commercialization of discoveries, breakthroughs and treatments.

“The incredible generosity of our donors like the Townsends will continue to provide the margin of excellence that makes Carolina better in everything we do,” Routh said. “The Campaign for Carolina will help us attract the best students and keep the most outstanding faculty members on our campus. We will be able to conduct research and deliver care that improves the lives of people across our state and around the world. The impact will be felt for many years ahead.”

Over the following two days, two fundraising challenges were announced:

  • A $20 million challenge in support of need-based aid for the children of service men and women. Running through October 2019, the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge aims to further open the door to a Carolina education for students from military families who qualify for the Carolina Covenant. The challenge results from a gift commitment totaling $40 million from Steve Vetter ’78 and Debbie Vetter ’78 of Greensboro. The vision is for $20 million to support the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge, $10 million to support Kenan-Flagler Business School and $10 million to support athletics. If met by Oct. 7, 2019, the Red, White and Carolina Blue Challenge will provide a total of $40 million to create scholarships for students from military families. Recipients will be recognized as Steve and Debbie Vetter Military Family Scholars.
  • Triggered by a $10 million gift from John G. Ellison Jr. ’69 (’72 MBA), the University has accepted a $10 million challenge to help retain and reward faculty and attract top teachers, scholars and scientists. The Faculty Excellence Challenge will support incentives such as salary supplements and research funds. Running through Oct. 8, 2018, the challenge aims to enable the University to sustain faculty excellence and grow the faculty in key areas to enhance academic quality, strengthen the research enterprise, broaden innovation and entrepreneurship initiatives and better serve a growing undergraduate, graduate and professional student body. If met, the challenge will provide at least an additional $10 million for similar support.

The four key priorities of the comprehensive fundraising campaign are:

  • Students and the educational experience: “The New Graduate” focuses on scholarships as well as supporting innovative teaching and experiential learning, with an emphasis on digital- and data-literacy. This includes providing access to a globally focused education and creating buildings and spaces to optimize student success.
  • Faculty and scholarship: “The 21st-Century Professoriate” focuses on recruiting and retaining top faculty and providing an environment that inspires creativity, collaboration and service to the state and beyond. This includes supporting high-potential, high-reward research, creating buildings and spaces to optimize faculty success in teaching and multidisciplinary research and developing a 21st century Professor of Practice program to ensure students learn from the top professionals in their fields.
  • Innovation and impact: “A Culture of Innovation” focuses on enhancing Carolina’s position as a preeminent translational research university and accelerating the pace of the University’s entrepreneurial ideas with commercial impact or social promise. This includes creating buildings and spaces that foster innovation and multidisciplinary solutions and expanding thought-provoking arts programming to strengthen creativity and critical thinking.
  • Signature initiatives: These focus on addressing issues and opportunities that emerge over the course of the campaign and leveraging Carolina’s strengths to remain responsive to the times and needs of the people. Three that have been announced are aimed at recruiting top students, translating research into impact and bringing arts to everyone on campus.

Carolina’s last comprehensive campaign, Carolina First, concluded at the end of 2007, during which more than 194,000 donors contributed $2.38 billion.


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