The University of Tennessee Foundation Inc. (UTFI) generated its highest number of donors in the system’s history as 67,281 donors gave over $196 million in commitments during the 2019-20 fiscal year. The UTFI also saw an increase in alumni participation with over 220,000 alumni engaging with the UT System throughout the year.
“Our alumni and donors are passionate about the university, and their continued commitment creates opportunities throughout the University of Tennessee System that inspire others to do the same,” said Kerry Witcher, UTFI president and CEO.
Locally, the University of Tennessee at Martin Office of Alumni Relations and Office of Development recorded several milestones. UT Martin saw a one-day giving challenge that shattered not only the stated goal but also the university’s record for the largest amount raised in 24-hours, with over $401,000 donated to the university by a record number of donors. Overall, the university received donations of more than $9.7 million for student aid, programs and campus enhancements during the 2019-20 fiscal year.
“Alumni and donors believe in our university and trust the leadership and are willing to invest their financial resources to build an even larger foundation for growth in the coming years,” said Dr. Charley Deal, UT Martin vice chancellor for university advancement.
The fiscal year came with challenges, including the COVID-19 pandemic that began late in the third quarter. While the pandemic changed the course for many, the crisis also led to alumni and friends raising over $645,000 for student emergency funds across each of the UT campuses. In addition, alumni offices quickly regrouped, changed in-person events to virtual platforms and created digital engagement opportunities for alumni.
Giving totals are a compilation of gifts from each campus and institute. Individually, UT Knoxville surpassed $139 million, UT Institute of Agriculture $15 million, UT Health Science Center $16 million and UT Chattanooga $11 million.
UTFI is an independent, not-for-profit organization created in 2001 to support the University of Tennessee’s educational, research and public activities. As the preferred channel for all private contributions that benefit students and faculty at the UT System, UTFI staff members work with alumni and other prospective donors to secure funds for scholarships, professorships, research, outreach programs and other university initiatives.