Campus & Community

Harvard alumni and friends contribute $651M in fiscal year 2008

3 min read

Harvard University announced today (Sept. 11) that gift receipts totaled nearly $651 million last year — a $37 million increase over fiscal year 2007. Fiscal year 2008 fundraising results were the second-best in Harvard’s history, ranking only behind fiscal year 2001, when the University raised $658 million. In that extraordinary year, Harvard received a one-time gift from the Ford Foundation of $50 million, as well as four other gift payments of $25 million or more. All told, more than 86,000 alumni and friends made gifts to Harvard last year.

“We are enormously grateful to our alumni and friends for their generosity and continued dedication to Harvard,” said Tamara Elliott Rogers, vice president for alumni affairs and development. “Every single gift will assist the University in realizing its mission,” she said.

Donors supported a wide variety of Harvard’s programs last year, reflecting the University’s depth, breadth, and exceptional quality in a rich diversity of teaching programs and fields of study. Major new commitments to support financial aid, graduate fellowships, international study, science and engineering, the arts, interdisciplinary programs, and faculty positions were made across Harvard’s 14 Schools and many of its affiliated institutions, most notably the Harvard Art Museum.

In addition to these exceptional gift receipts, the University announced that it had received the largest gift from an alumnus in Harvard’s history. David Rockefeller ’36, G ’37, LL.D. ’69 pledged $100 million to increase dramatically learning opportunities for Harvard undergraduates through international experiences and participation in the arts.

Approximately $70 million of the gift will enable undergraduates to learn about other cultures directly by participating in high-quality international experiences, which may include study for credit, internships, service, work, research, or travel. Rockefeller has designated $30 million of his gift to provide hands-on learning opportunities in the arts. As a cornerstone of the recently announced effort to renovate the Fogg Art Museum, the arts component of Rockefeller’s gift will enable the construction of three new study centers in which undergraduates will have personal encounters with original works of art.

Among the generous new commitments to Harvard announced during the year were: $25 million from Jorge Paulo Lemann ’61 to the University for the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies in support of Brazilian studies; $15 million from an anonymous donor to the University Science Initiatives in support of innovations in science; $13 million from the estate of Alan Gleitsman to the Harvard Kennedy School for social activism; $10 million to support Harvard’s research efforts in the areas of energy and the environment; and $10 million from the estate of Ferris Booth to provide unrestricted support for Harvard Divinity School.

Harvard Law School successfully concluded its Setting the Standard fundraising campaign in June and is expected to have exceeded its $400 million goal. Campaign gifts boosted Harvard Law School’s total to $54 million last year, $10 million higher than in fiscal year 2007.

The Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), which includes Harvard College, the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, received the highest dollar amount in contributions among the University’s various funds: $191 million, representing approximately 29 percent of total giving. The FAS total represents the generosity of tens of thousands of donors, who have provided critical funds for the FAS to address core and emerging needs such as financial aid and fellowship programs, House renewal, faculty expansion, undergraduate experience initiatives, research, and construction projects.