Column: Georgia Tech has second-best fundraising year ever

By Maria Saporta
Friday, November 4, 2011

A slow economy has not stopped Georgia Tech’s fundraising prowess.
For the fiscal year ending on June 30, Georgia Tech received $118.1 million — its second-best fundraising year ever.

And those numbers, which Georgia Tech reported to the Council for Aid to Education, only include gifts received rather than pledges made to the university.

“Georgia Tech alumni and friends have a long-standing tradition of generously supporting the Institute,” said Georgia Tech President Bud Peterson, in a statement. “Given the bold and visionary aspirations articulated in our 25-year strategic plan, this support is more crucial now than ever before. I am very pleased — but certainly not surprised — to see that our community’s robust philanthropic track record grew even stronger last year.”

Those results bring Georgia Tech closer to its expanded multi-year campaign goal of $1.5 billion, which is chaired by John Brock, CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc.

The university now has raised $1.02 billion, and it received an average of nearly $3 million in donations each week, according to Barrett Carson, Georgia Tech’s vice president for development.

The total also included $49 million for current operations; $32 million for restricted endowment; and another $37 million for facilities and equipment.

In looking at how the $118 million was distributed throughout the university, $44 million was designated for the College of Engineering, $13 million for the College of Management, and $24 million for inter- collegiate athletics.

The largest contributors to the annual philanthropic effort were alumni ($41 million) and corporations (also $41 million). Current and former trustees of the Georgia Tech Foundation gave nearly $11 million in those 12 months.

Another interesting fact to note is that in the 2010 fiscal year, Georgia Tech and its associated foundations accounted for 43 percent of all gifts made to the 35 public institutions in the University System of Georgia.

As Carson said about Georgia Tech’s fundraising: “Despite the uncertainty of the financial markets regionally, nationally and internationally, philanthropy to the Institute continues strong across all constituencies.”
Georgia Tech now has a consolidated endowment of $1.6 billion, as of June 30, 2011.

Humane society campaign

As the Atlanta Humane Society prepares to double in size, it is officially launching its $10 million capital campaign.

Already it has raised nearly $5 million toward its goal, receiving contributions from Anne Cox Chambers, the Elton John Charitable Fund and the Isdell Family Foundation, among others.

The proceeds of the campaign are going to support a new animal rescue and adoption center in Alpharetta, which will be about the same size as its current facility on Howell Mill Road.

“For us, the importance is the magnitude of doubling in size,” said William Shaheen, who took over as president of the Atlanta Humane Society on Nov. 1. “It will make an impact on animal welfare in the Atlanta region.”

Shaheen, who served as chairman of the AHS board until taking over as president, explained that the Atlanta Humane Society decided to expand into North Fulton to help reduce the number of animals that are euthanized each year in metro Atlanta — estimated to be about 30,000.

“We just felt like North Fulton was an underserved area,” Shaheen said. “There are a lot of backyards up there.”

The Howell Mill campus handles between 5,000 and 6,000 adoptions each year. When the Mansell Road campus opens on Dec. 3, the Atlanta Humane Society will be able to double its annual number of adoptions.

The Atlanta Humane Society took out a $6 million loan to buy and convert a former car dealership into the Mansell Road campus — which will end up being a $10 million project when complete with furnishings and equipment.

The largest gift so far to the campaign was $2.5 million from Anne Cox Chambers, an owner of Cox Enterprises. The adoption center in the new facility will be named after her.

The other major donors to the campaign include: the Atlanta Humane Society board and staff — $635,000; VCA Animal Hospitals — $500,000; 24PetWatch Pet Insurance — $500,000; the Tull Foundation — $100,000; the Isdell Family Foundation — $50,000; the Elton John Charitable Fund — $30,000; and the Livingston Foundation — $10,000.

Shaheen hopes the Atlanta Humane Society, which recently received a four-star rating from Charity Navigator, will be able to complete the campaign by June 2012.

Numbers too big to ignore

The Atlanta Women’s Foundation had a banner “Numbers Too Big to Ignore” luncheon on Oct. 27 at the Georgia World Congress Center.

The event raised an all-time record of $1.05 million — thanks to a $500,000 donation from Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Co., who was the luncheon’s keynote speaker.

Leading up to the lunch, the foundation had raised nearly $430,000 through ticket sales and sponsorships. And thanks to an ample amount of arm-twisting during the lunch, the 25-year-old Atlanta Women’s Foundation was able to raise another $70,144 on the spot.

The contributions will enable the foundation to continue making grants to organizations serving women and girls. In its 25-year history, the foundation has raised about $10 million and made grants to about 250 organizations.

Cold cash for warm homes

As more Georgia families struggle to pay their bills, SCANA Energy is contributing heating energy assistance for needy Georgians just in time for the winter months.

“We’re proud to once again give $85,000 to the Heating Energy Assistance Team this year,” said George Devlin, SCANA’s vice president and general manager, in a statement. “These dollars are needed every year, but probably more so this year than before. Many Georgia families have lost their jobs in a stubbornly weak economy, and they will need additional assistance to keep their homes warm.”

The nonprofit group H.E.A.T. has distributed more than $20 million to nearly 89,000 Georgia families since it was founded in 1983.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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