MU’s record-breaking fundraising year pushes campaign past billion dollar mark

July 11, 2018

Story Contact(s):
Cailin Riley,, 573-882-4870

COLUMBIA, Mo. – University officials announced Wednesday morning that the University of Missouri raised more than $147 million in cash gifts during fiscal year 2018, breaking the previous record of $121 million set in 2017 by 22 percent. The university’s fundraising success pushed the Mizzou: Our Time to Lead campaign total past the $1 billion mark. The campaign was launched in October 2015 with an overall goal of $1.3 billion.

“The support of the Mizzou community is remarkable,” MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright said. “It has been a pleasure to meet MU alumni and friends during my first year here and learn what the university means to them. Their generosity opens doors for student success and helps Mizzou solve the grand challenges facing Missouri through education, research and outreach. We cannot thank our community enough for its support.”

Including pledges, the university raised nearly $162 million, the third highest total in university history and an increase of $10 million from fiscal year 2017. More than 43,000 donors made nearly 77,000 donations, pledges and estate gifts during the fiscal year. This is the fifth year in a row donors have made 20 or more gifts of at least $1 million to MU.

For example, in September, David and Wendy Novak donated $21.6 million to create the Novak Leadership Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism. Named for David Novak, the co-founder, retired chairman and CEO of Yum! Brands, the Novak Leadership Institute combines the reputation and resources of the world’s first school of journalism with Novak’s industry-tested principles of leadership.

Smaller gifts also made a significant contribution to the university’s fundraising. Mizzou’s Columns Society, which recognizes donors with an annual giving total of $2,500 or more, reached 3,611 members, the highest membership total in its five-year history. This year’s Mizzou Giving Day raised 4,065 gifts totaling more than $13.7 million, surpassing last year’s total by more than $5 million.

“Our success is a testament to the passion of our alumni and friends,” said Tom Hiles, vice chancellor for advancement. “We work every day to match donor interests with university priorities. We will make Mizzou stronger and exceed our $1.3 billion campaign goal by 2020 thanks to the generosity of our supporters and the hard work of our dedicated staff of advancement professionals.”

“As an alumna, I am just one of thousands of people around the world who are proud of MU’s past and excited for its future,” said Davida Layer, chair of the board for the David B. Lichtenstein Foundation and a member of the Mizzou: Our Time to Lead Campaign Cabinet. “Mizzou is a special place. I’ve never been prouder to be a Tiger.”

The Mizzou: Our Time to Lead campaign will secure the University of Missouri’s status among the nation’s elite public universities by focusing on four priorities:

  • Endowment—will help MU compete with other institutions and strengthen the ability to attract and retain stellar students and faculty.
  • Signature centers and institutes—will be the engine of research growth that will enhance MU’s AAU status and add to the university’s distinctiveness.
  • Campus renaissance—will propel Mizzou to global leadership in education and research with new and renovated facilities and will help attract and retain students and faculty.
  • Student success initiatives—will provide Mizzou students access to world-class learning opportunities that ensure they thrive on campus and throughout their lives.
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