William & Mary’s For the Bold campaign nears $900M

William & Mary’s $1 billion For the Bold campaign is roaring forward, with nearly $900 million raised to date. The Alma Mater of the Nation maintains a firm grip on its position as the No. 1 nationally ranked public university for undergraduate alumni participation — surpassing several Ivy League institutions — and continues its focus on providing exceptional offerings for alumni, parents and friends, particularly related to networking and professional development.  

In fiscal year 2019 (FY19), William & Mary secured almost $92 million from a total of 42,556 donors contributing to areas across the university.

Gifts of all sizes have made a big impact on the university and its students, faculty and alumni in the U.S. and around the globe. In FY19, gifts of less than $100 collectively added up to nearly $1.8 million. Since the start of the campaign gifts of this size have totaled approximately $13 million and gifts of less than $25 have provided nearly $2 million — buttressing priorities and initiatives at William & Mary and reinforcing the fact that all gifts make a difference.

It has been a little over a year since President Katherine Rowe took the helm and William & Mary has seen a jump from $800 million to nearly $900 million raised in that time.

“This is a bold moment for the university,” said President Rowe. “Our community’s generosity and shared commitment have generated enormous momentum. We are deeply grateful to have so many partners choosing to invest in our future.”

With nearly $892 million raised to date, William & Mary’s fundraising endeavors play a vital role in strengthening the educational mission of the university — contributing to growth in scholarships support, curricular innovation, student-faculty research, study abroad, internships, international initiatives, new facilities, entrepreneurial programming and so much more.

There has been a steady uptick in unrestricted giving for schools and units across the university over the course of the For the Bold campaign — in FY19 alone, nearly $15 million in unrestricted dollars were secured — in addition to the establishment of new unrestricted funds, including the President’s Strategic Investment Fund, thanks to a gift from an anonymous alumna.

Unrestricted funding, which is funding that can be used for any purpose and at the discretion of the institution, will continue to be an area of focus for President Rowe as it enables the university to capitalize on emerging opportunities that fuel growth and innovation.

The Scholarships Impact Fund, in particular, experienced a surge in unrestricted funding over the last fiscal year with a nearly two-fold increase in dollars raised. Scholarships are the top priority in the For the Bold campaign — to date, $276 million has been raised toward the overall goal.  

“It is truly remarkable that with only a year left in our campaign, the energy and excitement keeps building. This past fiscal year was a big year for William & Mary and it has been extraordinary to witness firsthand the impact of the campaign on our entire Tribe community,” said Sue Hanna Gerdelman ’76, chair of For the Bold.  

In FY19, William & Mary saw the opening of the McLeod Tyler Wellness Center and the Shenkman Jewish Center as well as the groundbreaking and construction of the Tribe Field Hockey Center, the Alumni House expansion, and the Reveley Garden. Additionally, the Raymond A. Mason School of Business launched a new Center for Online Learning. All of these initiatives were made possible by the generous support of donors. To view other examples of the impact that For the Bold is having on William & Mary, visit our campaign website.

During the past year, the university held its inaugural W&M Women’s Weekend as part of the commemoration of 100 years of coeducation at William & Mary. Nearly 500 alumnae, parents, family, staff, students and friends hailing from 27 states and three countries, spanning the generations from the Class of 1948 to 2022, gathered together for the celebration.

As part of the weekend, the Society of 1918 announced an ambitious $4 million goal to fund the Alumnae Initiatives Endowment, which will enrich programming and enhance opportunities for alumnae around the world. Earlier today, President Rowe announced that the $4 million goal has been met, thanks in large part to 430 Society members.

The university also grew its efforts around career networking and professional development for the 100,000-plus alumni in the U.S. and around the globe who have expressed that this is an area of significant importance for them. William & Mary launched its first-ever professionals week, which saw thousands of alumni participating in cities across the nation to help advance their careers, network with fellow alumni and share where their W&M education has taken them.

Importantly, William & Mary boasts one of the highest donor retention rates in the U.S., with 71.5 percent of undergraduate alumni renewing their investment in alma mater year after year — a contributing factor to the university’s overall undergraduate alumni participation rate of 26.4 percent.

With one year left in the For the Bold campaign, William & Mary remains focused on a variety of philanthropic priorities. In addition to scholarships and teaching excellence, the university aims to raise additional funds for The Martha Wren Briggs Center for the Visual Arts, home of the Muscarelle Museum of Art, the Studio for Teaching and Learning Innovation, the Memorial to African Americans Enslaved by William & Mary as well as fundraising initiatives within William & Mary Athletics.

“It’s been another incredible year for William & Mary — we continue to see robust engagement and philanthropic support from our global community and we are thankful to all of our donors for helping us reach this point,” said Matthew T. Lambert ’99, vice president for university advancement. “The next year will be vital as the university triumphantly closes out the For the Bold campaign and I look forward with great excitement to celebrating this historic accomplishment.”