Record Fundraising Year Supports Key UVA Darden Initiatives

By Dave Hendrick

The loyal support of alumni and friends of the University of Virginia Darden School of Business resulted in a record-breaking fundraising year, generating more than $30 million in contributions to the School. Incredible philanthropy from within the Darden community elevated multiple strategic priorities of the School as the Darden Annual Fund and overall new philanthropic commitments exceeded Darden leadership’s expectations and surpassed all goals set for the year.

“Darden has just completed one of the most phenomenal fundraising years, not just in its 21st century, but in the history of the School, and set an all-time record for the Annual Fund,” said Dean Scott Beardsley. “On behalf of Darden, I express profound gratitude to the donors whose commitment and generosity have made this possible. These are exciting times as we move ahead and set even more audacious goals in support of a major campaign for Darden.”

The fiscal-year fundraising success underscores the deep culture of philanthropy at Darden, with a jump in major gifts, a growing response to Dean Beardsley’s call to increase scholarships and donations from a record number of alumni emphasizing the breadth of support for the School’s initiatives.

The 2017 fiscal year results and highlights include:

  • $30.6 million in overall new commitments, an increase from the $19.7 million raised in the previous fiscal year. For Darden, this represents the highest total for a complete fiscal year in the 21st century. It also represents the second best year in Darden history, exceeded only by the year in which Darden received the transformational gift to establish the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
  • $5.4 million raised for the Annual Fund, a new record sum and a 6 percent increase from the previous year. An incredible 40 percent of alumni donated, one of the highest participation rates among graduate business schools, demonstrating the tremendous loyalty of Darden alumni. The 2017 Annual Fund campaign allowed supporters to designate gifts — a first for the Darden Annual Fund — to one of four key areas, which included Area of Greatest Need, Scholarships, Faculty Excellence and Global Impact.
  • $13.7 million in new commitments for student scholarships, a 70 percent increase over the previous year. This reflects a continued response from alumni to Dean Beardsley’s Darden Scholarship Challenge, which seeks to make the School accessible and affordable for all students.
  • Reunion giving skyrocketed with a new record of $9 million in contributions from alumni who celebrated a Darden Reunion.

The growth of Darden’s Principal Donor Society is another reflection of the tremendous support for the School. This fiscal year, Darden welcomed six new members to the Principal Donors Society — the School’s highest designation for lifetime giving.

Such high-impact donations allow Darden to proceed with a number of key initiatives, including establishing new scholarships, expanding the Future Year Admissions program, funding new postdoctoral positions and laying the groundwork for the School’s new Washington, D.C., area facility.

Darden’s unprecedented Annual Fund total was aided by the School’s performance on GivingToHoosDay, the University-wide day of philanthropy held 12 April. Darden raised nearly $550,000 from 821 gifts, earning the top spot among the University’s schools in total dollars raised and No. 2 for number of gifts.

“It has been a terrific year at Darden, and I am proud to be leading the Advancement efforts for the School. It is an honor to be a part of Darden and the iconic University of Virginia,” said Kara Ramirez Mullins, executive director of Darden’s Office of Advancement. “This impactful giving from our alumni and friends generates such excitement and momentum, especially as we anticipate and prepare for a historic multimillion dollar campaign.”

Darden’s upcoming campaign will align with UVA’s Third Century Campaign and the University’s Bicentennial Commemoration. This year’s record-breaking fundraising success serves as an incredible steppingstone for Darden, positioning the School to achieve its philanthropic and strategic goals in the lifetime of the campaign.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia