Gifts to WMU up sharply for fiscal year 2011-12

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Private gifts to WMU increased in 2011-12.

KALAMAZOO—Shattering all previous one-year records for fundraising, donors made more than $41 million in private gifts to Western Michigan University during the recently completed 2011-12 fiscal year.

Including cash, pledges, planned and in-kind gifts, WMU's Office of Development and Alumni Relations received, on behalf of the University, a total of $41,575,189 for the fiscal year that ended June 30.

The amount represents an increase of $29,446,110, or more than 240 percent, compared to the total for the 2010-11 fiscal year.

Gift records indicate the size and scope of the donor population reflect a broad and deep base of support and a high level of global engagement.

More than 25,000 donors made a total of 70,816 gifts during fiscal year 2011-12. Many of the gifts were made to the WMU Annual Giving program, which raised $1,919,795, an increase of more than $100,000 over the 2010-11 program total.

"We're grateful to our many alumni and friends for their unwavering commitment to the well-being and future growth of our University," says WMU President John M. Dunn.

"Our donors are among WMU's most critical stakeholders, and the level of philanthropic support they provide opens new doors and allows us to maintain a high level of academic excellence. Donors have chosen to make investments that produce the most important kind of dividend—success for our students, for our state and for our nation," he says.

An additional illustration of the growing connection between WMU alumni and friends and their University is revealed, development leaders say, by looking beyond the dollars raised.  

As an example, they cite the more than 200 gifts made in the past year in memory of Kenneth "K.C." O’Shaughnessy, longtime WMU professor of management, who died in a biking accident last summer.

As a result of these gifts, scholarships will be created and entrepreneurial opportunities generated for students, faculty and the community.

"The gift totals never tell the full story," says Jim Thomas, WMU Vice President of Development and Alumni Relations. "The impact of our donors' generosity is most clearly communicated through the transformational experiences made possible by their gifts."

Earlier this year, Thomas notes, the MyWMU.com website was redesigned to share individual stories and experiences and engage a diverse and growing audience in the life and future of a learner-centered research university.

"Our goal is to be of service," he says. "Our team is working hard to help build closer connections with all of the members of the WMU family, and we are deeply grateful for the response to our outreach."