NO ONE WILL DISPUTE that the 2019-2020 fiscal year was a volatile one, starting off with optimism and high hopes and ending with the pandemic and its ensuing economic instability. Like all institutions and most individuals, Florida Gulf Coast University saw its fortunes swing in pendulum fashion as well but, when it was all over, the university emerged with an endowment that had grown over the year, greater assets and a banner year when it came to gifts from generous donors.
“The highlight of the year was the community’s excitement over the entrepreneurship building,” said Kitty Green, vice president for Advancement and executive director of the FGCU Foundation. “It really pushed us over the top. We were really lucky to have such incredible support.”
Six principal gifts – those of $1 million or more – represented 40 percent of the total. Deferred gifts accounted for a third, while endowed gifts comprised $2 million and $4.1 million was designated for scholarships.
Those major gifts enabled construction to commence ahead of schedule on the building that will house the Daveler/ Kauanui School of Entrepreneurship, bringing the burgeoning program back to campus from its base at the Emergent Technologies Institute a few miles northeast on Alico Road.
In the fiscal year, which ran from July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020, the FGCU Foundation raised $31.2 million, exceeding its annual goal by 25 percent and besting last year’s results by 29 percent.
Of that, gifts to Athletics totaled $4.9 million and those to WGCU Public Media came to $4.7 million.
In addition, 83 percent of the FGCU Foundation Board directors made gifts to FGCU, many as part of a drive to help students who were experiencing financial need due to the COVID-19 pandemic. While the amount of money donated last year was greater, so, too, is the need as students continue to struggle to pay for school as families grapple with unemployment and student jobs aren’t as plentiful as they once were.
“Now that the entrepreneurship building is funded, in the coming year, the president’s priorities are keeping costs to students low, an increased focus on scholarships and continuing to strengthen our faculty,” Green said. “We are hoping for some eminent scholars funding in various areas.
“These are our primary focuses for this year knowing it’s probably going to be a challenging year given all our human services needs.”
HOW YOU CAN HELP
For more information on ways to donate, visit fgcu.edu/advancement.