Community//

Matt Kupec: The Power of Philanthropy in Higher Education

Philanthropic giving in America in 2018 set an all-time record with nearly $428 billion generously donated. Of that amount, $58 million was given to education. In this post, we look a the reasons why philanthropy in higher education is so important.

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.

by Matt Kupec

September 28, 2019

Philanthropy plays a critical role in our society.  In 2018, Americans gave $427.71 to charities, a record level.  Of the total amount, $58.72 million went to support education.  In higher education these dollars help colleges and universities recruit and retain students and faculty, improve and build facilities, strengthen academic programs and support cutting edge research.

At a luncheon with Southern Illinois University alumni earlier this week, I had the chance to make the following points to the Saluki alumni pitch about the important role philanthropy plays for the University:

  • Philanthropy Provides the “margin of excellence.”  Universities generate revenue from a variety of sources.  These include state appropriations (for public universities), tuition, research (for research institutions), philanthropic support and auxiliary revenue.  In many instances, dollars raised from philanthropy will be mingled together with other revenue sources to start a new program or build a new facility.  Philanthropy provides “the margin of excellence,” that is the money from private gifts gives organization the funds needed to complete a project, an initiative or a fund.  Without philanthropy, that project would not have been able to be completed.  As state budgets get tighter, private giving is playing an even more important role in allowing Universities to meet the challenges that await them.
  • Philanthropy Sends a powerful message.  At Universities, the allegiance of alumni to support their alma mater is often a key criteria used corporations and foundations will ask when making a decision about supporting the institution.  If alumni will give back financially to their institution than they must think their experience at the University was a worthwhile and important experience.  Even the U.S. News and World Report allocates 5% of a University’s overall ranking for a category known “alumni support,” the percentage of alumni that support their university., when calculating all the factors in their rankings formula.
  • Philanthropy Connects you to the University.  At the lunch I mentioned earlier, SIU alumni discussed a number of ways alumni can help their alma mater – attend events, serve as a mentor for undergraduates, provides internships and externships, help undergraduate admissions with recruiting, help new graduates with their job search.  Making a financial philanthropic gift to your alma mater is another way to connect you to your university.
  • Philanthropy is A great way to help your University.  Even if you are so busy with work, your family and other community engagements and one doesn’t have much time to get with their alma mater, the alumnus can make a philanthropic gift which serves as a great connector.  It also provides the alumnus a way to make an impact at their alma mater.
    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Community//

    Matt Kupec: Is Syosset High School the Best in Nassau County?

    by Matt Kupec
    Community//

    Dr. Una O. Osili Ph.D.: “How I Aim To Change How We Think About Generosity”

    by Yitzi Weiner
    Community//

    Matt Kupec: Remembering Coach Mike McGee

    by Matt Kupec

    Sign up for the Thrive Global newsletter

    Will be used in accordance with our privacy policy.

    Thrive Global
    People look for retreats for themselves, in the country, by the coast, or in the hills . . . There is nowhere that a person can find a more peaceful and trouble-free retreat than in his own mind. . . . So constantly give yourself this retreat, and renew yourself.

    - MARCUS AURELIUS

    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.