University of Michigan raises record-setting $5 billion, more than any public university

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

Credit: Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy (Flickr)

ANN ARBOR - No, the figure in the headline is not wrong.

You read that right. The University of Michigan has raised a whopping $5 billion, in the most successful fundraising campaign for a public university in the U.S.

The Victors for Michigan campaign, which has almost three months remaining, has received funds from more than 382,000 donors, with more than $1.1 billion benefiting student support efforts.

"The success of Victors for Michigan is further evidence of the power of the University of Michigan family, whose generosity makes excellence possible across the breadth of our three campuses and Michigan Medicine," President Mark Schlissel said in a statement.

The campaign was launched in 2013 by President Emerita Mary Sue Coleman along with members of the university's Board of Regents.

The president also thanked Vice President for Development Jerry May, who has spent the past 29 years fundraising for U-M and will be retiring Dec. 31.

"Jerry May has given his heart and soul, and continues to do so, to the university of Michigan. He’s a force of nature," Schlissel said. "'This $5 billion campaign, I can easily say, would not have happened without Jerry May so I’d like us to express our appreciation."

According to the university, 93 percent of the $1.1 billion raised for students will directly support scholarships and fellowships for undergraduate and graduate students. 

This will enable U-M to provide financial aid to more than two-thirds of its 46,000 Ann Arbor students.

More than $1.4 billion will go to advancing patient care, education and research at Michigan Medicine.

The campaign relied on U-M staff and volunteers around the world.

"Without our volunteers who dedicate time and service to Michigan, we could not have achieved these amazing results," Stephen M. Ross, campaign chair and its largest donor with gifts to the Stephen M. Ross School of Business and the Ross Athletic Campus, said in a statement. "I am thrilled with the broad base of support we’ve been able to secure through this campaign."

Ninety-four percent of donors gave less than $5,000. More than half of those donors gave their first gift to the school through the Victors for Michigan campaign.

Roughly 10,500 students gave more than $2.3 million in donations. Members of faculty, staff and retired U-M employees also made donations.

Before the campaign comes to an end on Dec. 31, it will be holding a community celebration on Nov. 2 and "Giving Blueday," a 24-hour fundraising day on Nov. 27.

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