UA Fundraising Tops $61 Million For First Half Of 2013 Fiscal Year

Fundraising topped $61 million for the University of Arkansas at the midway point of the 2013 fiscal year, a 15-percent increase from the same time period in 2012.

Total the UA has raised $61,798,223 of its $107 million goal for the year. Included in the total are cash gifts, gifts-in-kind, planned gifts and pledges. It’s a bit of good news for the UA’s advancement division, which is on track for a $4.3 million deficit, a year after overspending by $3.1 million.

"Once again, we are on track for another successful fundraising year thanks to the generosity of University of Arkansas alumni, friends, faculty, staff, parents and students," Chancellor G. David Gearhart said. "I am pleased that our benefactors continue to demonstrate their confidence and loyalty by supporting higher education and the university’s initiatives, despite the concern over fiscal cliff ramifications or the political climate.

"This truly makes a difference in the future of our institution and allows us to offer an exceptional educational experience."

The money will go to a number of academic and athletic purposes, including scholarships and construction on campus.

A portion of money raised not earmarked for a specific purpose is expected to help cover the budget deficit in advancement. Gearhart announced earlier this month a plan to use "unrestricted funds" to help pay down the deficit.

Also considered was a "gift tax" on donations between 10-15 percent that could help cover about $1.5 million of the deficit. That recovery fee will not be implemented in 2012-13, but is a possibility going forward. Advancement, which houses a number of UA departments, including fundraising, is also implementing cost-cutting measures and is currently on a hiring freeze.

As Arkansas Business first reported, officials discovered a shortfall in June. The UA advancement office overspent by $3.1 million in 2011-12 and is on track for a deficit of more than $4 million in 2012-13.

Advancement, which houses fundraising, communications, marketing, special events and the World Trade Center in Rogers, includes 154 employees. That total has grown by 16 since 2009. 

Already, the budget mishandling has resulted in the reassignment of Joy Sharp, who had budget oversight and human resources duties in advancement, and Vice Chancellor for Advancement at University of Arkansas Brad Choate.

Sharp is now in human resources and has no budget oversight. Choate continues to work in fundraising, but does not have day-to-day management responsibilities. Gearhart, who made fundraising a priority of his time at Arkansas, is now handling those duties.