York University’s donor base reaches new high

The 2004-2005 fiscal year now stands as York’s best year of fundraising yet with over 9,500 alumni, friends, staff and students supporting the University. Over the last three years, the number of donors has increased by 59 per cent and overall revenue has increased by 79 per cent. This past year alone, supporters contributed more than $19 million in revenue. Multi-year pledge commitments this year have more than doubled to over $25 million.

“These numbers are very encouraging,” says Timothy Price, Chair of the board of the York University Foundation, which was established three years ago as an innovative approach to university fundraising. “Together, York University and the York University Foundation have done an exemplary job of building new relationships and nurturing existing ones. We are confident that we will continue to break records while also ensuring a strong and vital future for Canada’s third largest university.”

Right: From left, Timothy Price, Chair of the York University Foundation’s Board of Directors and Marshall Cohen, Chair of York University’s Board of Governors, cutting the cake at the Foundation’s annual general meeting in Oct. 2004.

This past fiscal year included five new gifts of $1 million or more. Leading the way was a $5-million gift to establish the Milton and Ethel Harris Research Initiative (MEHRI). This major research project will build on new knowledge of the brain’s development and help set children – including those with developmental disorders – on the path towards emotional and intellectual health. This is the single largest private research gift in York’s history and the single largest donation of any kind to York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal and Professional Studies. (See the June 23 issue of YFile.)

The Ontario Student Opportunity Trust Fund (OSOTF) program encouraged donors to support the creation and enhancement of student awards by matching donations dollar-for-dollar. A total of $6.3 million was raised through the OSOTF program in the past two years, exceeding the University’s OSOTF target of $4.7 million.

“Our donors have really stepped up,” says Lorna R. Marsden, president and vice-chancellor of York University. “They are helping us redefine the possible.”

This article was submitted to YFile by Carrie Brodi, communications officer, York University Foundation.