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Generous individuals nationwide gave more than $12.2 billion to higher education last year. Charitable contributions to U.S. colleges and universities increased by 3.4 in 2004.

Charitable donations: giving to the U

From eNews, March 10, 2005

When it comes to charitable donations, the University of Minnesota can proudly claim it has generous alumni and friends.

The U ranked tops among Minnesota colleges and universities in private dollars received for 2004, according to the recent Voluntary Support of Education survey released by the Council for Aid to Education (CAE). With $245.6 million, the U led state higher education institutions including St. Thomas ($43 million), Carleton ($17.9 million), and St. Cloud State ($3.3 million).

The U ranked fifth among public universities for fiscal year 2004, compared with seventh the previous year. Among all universities, public or private, the University ranked 15th in 2004, the same as the previous year.

"We are blessed to have a large number of individual and institutional donors who value higher education and who want to help build one of the world's great public research universities in Minnesota," says Gerald Fischer, president and chief executive officer of the University of Minnesota Foundation, which ensures that gifts to the U are well managed and used for the purposes specified by donors. "Private support for the U also reflects the gratitude felt by alumni and Minnesota citizens for how well the University has served their quality of life and careers."

The rankings include gifts made through the University of Minnesota Foundation and the Minnesota Medical Foundation, which raises funds for health-related education and research at the U.

Private support for the U rose 2.6 percent, while the value of gifts from U alumni increased by 37.7 percent. The survey tracks gifts and non-contractual grants.

The survey, which the CAE has conducted since the 1950s, collects data such as the source of gifts, the purposes for which they are earmarked, and the size of the largest gifts--to higher education and private K-12 schools. In 2004, the 971 survey participants represented more than half of the nation's four-year institutions, including 79.3 percent of research and doctoral institutions.

The University of California, Los Angeles, ranked first among public institutions, while Harvard University ranked first among all universities. Among Big Ten schools, the U was third, behind Wisconsin and Indiana.

The survey also reported that contributions to U.S. colleges and universities increased by 3.4 percent in 2004, buoyed by increased giving from individuals--nearly half of the $24.4 billion raised nationwide came directly from individuals. And although alumni giving is the traditional base of higher education giving, representing between a quarter to almost a third of all voluntary support, alumni giving nationally grew by only 2 percent in 2004. Individuals other than alumni drove personal giving up.

For a summary of the survey see, the CAE release at, To learn more about the University of Minnesota Foundation, including major gifts it has received on behalf of the U and opportunities for you to give, see

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