Universities in the United States collected a record $40.3 billion in donations in 2015, up 7.6 percent from 2014, according to reports. Stanford University, with $1.63 billion in donations, was atop the list of universities, compiled by the nonprofit Council for Aid to Education (CAE).
Stanford, which received over 50 percent more in donation value than second-place Harvard University, reported $801.6 million in cash gifts at the end of August 2015, another $201.1 million toward support for two university hospitals, and art works of the Anderson Collection, valued at $622.3 million.
Harvard, which raised $1.05 billion in donations at the end of June 2015, was the only other university to cross the billion-dollar mark, the Wall Street Journal reported. University of Southern California, University of California - San Francisco and Cornell University rounded out the top five.
The record total was reportedly bolstered by at least eight gifts of $100 million or more, which included works of art and rare books. With a combined value of $1.44 billion, the nine-figure gifts went to four schools, according to Bloomberg. Four of those donations went to Stanford and two to Northwestern University. The top 20 schools on the list made for 28.7 percent of total fundraising, Bloomberg reported.
Martin Shell, in-charge of Stanford’s fundraising, said: “Universities are seen as positive agents of change and people want to be part of that,” Bloomberg reported.
Alumni donations reportedly went up by 10.2 percent to $10.9 billion, while gifts from non-alumni rose 23.1 percent to $8 billion, Bloomberg cited the CAE survey. Charitable funding from foundations, including family foundations, increased 3.6 percent while corporate donations stayed flat.
Ann Kaplan, director of the survey, predicted an increase in charitable support for U.S. higher education in the current fiscal year, but given the weak stock market performance, at a more moderate pace.
“Even if people make the gifts they were planning to make, they will be worth less,” the Journal quoted Kaplan as saying.
The growth of 7.6 percent in donations to universities was far higher than the rise in Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index, which went up by 4.6 during the same time.
Results of CAE’s annual survey are set to be released Wednesday.