The University of Washington’s 10-year, $5 billion fundraising campaign has already raised $3 billion to support research and education.
Expect to see a lot of purple Friday.
The University of Washington is going public with a 6-year-old philanthropic campaign that’s already quietly raised $3 billion since it launched in 2010. The campaign is moving to its public phase, and the UW aims to raise $2 billion more during the next four years to support everything from scholarships to research to new buildings on campus.
As part of the hoopla, the UW is getting businesses and other organizations to fly UW flags and light up their buildings in the color purple Friday. CenturyLink Field will be bathed in purple light, for example, and so will the Seattle Great Wheel on the waterfront that evening.
This campaign is the UW’s third, and most ambitious, fundraising effort since 1987, when the university raised $280 million. The second campaign, which ran from 2000 to 2008, raised $2.67 billion.
Most Read Local Stories
- Coronavirus daily news updates, June 5: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
- Limited restaurant dining can resume in King, Pierce, Snohomish counties as state OKs coronavirus reopenings
- After months of pleading for social distancing, health officials support protests. Seattle Black Lives Matter warns of dangers
- Seattle-area protests: Demonstrators hit the streets for ninth day of action after George Floyd’s killing
- Coronavirus daily news updates, June 6: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
In this third campaign, the $3 billion raised to date includes many well-publicized corporate and private donations, such as a series of gifts totaling $100 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, the $10 million that Amazon and Microsoft each contributed toward a new computer-science center, and $50 million that went toward a remodel of Husky Stadium.
Overall, plans call for the $5 billion to be used in four broad areas, said Connie Kravas, vice president for university advancement: to continue to improve undergraduate education, expand the impact of the UW’s research, emphasize innovation as a mindset, and highlight the public nature of the university — in part by keeping tuition affordable for low-income students.
That means raising money for scholarships, especially for Husky Promise, the program that targets low-income students, and allows about 30 percent of the UW’s in-state undergraduates to go to the UW tuition-free, said UW spokesman Norm Arkans.
The campaign also puts a high priority on money to support professorships and chairs, and to support high-demand majors like computer science and engineering.
Along with the purple lights Friday, the university is inviting more than 6,000 people to attend a free “multimedia spectacular” celebrating the university’s achievements, which will feature Gov. Jay Inslee, former Gov. Dan Evans, UW President Ana Mari Cauce and Microsoft President Brad Smith. The celebration will be at Hec Edmundson Pavilion at 7 p.m.
The launch party is underwritten by corporate sponsors, including Boeing, Microsoft, Starbucks, The Seattle Times, AT&T, Banner Bank and BECU.
Kravas said the university debated whether it needed a public launch for a campaign that’s more than halfway done, then decided it was a good way to bring people together and show how the university is supported by people throughout the community, whatever the size of their donations.
Of the $5 billion total the campaign is aiming to raise, only about a quarter of the money will go toward the UW’s endowment, which totals $3.2 billion and is restricted to specific purposes.
College endowments have come under more scrutiny recently after the Education Trust published a report that criticized some of the nation’s richest private universities for sitting on billions of dollars in private endowment money, using very little of it to reduce the bill for low-income students.
There is no required spending threshold for university endowments, which are tax-exempt.
The UW’s endowment in 2013-14 was the 30th-largest in the country that year among all universities, and the ninth-largest among public universities. The lion’s share of that money goes to medical research.