The University of North Florida’s Access to Excellence Capital Campaign, the largest philanthropic drive in Jacksonville history, has surpassed the $100 million mark, officials announced Saturday.
The announcement was made at a celebration Saturday night on the UNF campus. A gift from prominent local civic leaders Ann and David Hicks of $1.15 million pushed the Campaign total over the $100 million level. The Hickses’ gift for an additional scholarship endowment qualifies for $862,000 in state matching funds.
The Hickses, co-chairs of the capital campaign, have now contributed $3 million with an equal amount in matching funds for a total of $6 million.
“To have a great city, you need a great university. In these times of restricted budgets, the state money is simply not adequate,” Ann Hicks said. “The success of this Campaign make the difference between adequate and excellent.”
“The Access to Excellence campaign is exciting,” David Hicks said. “I have seen the difference it can make in a student’s life by providing educational opportunities they may not otherwise have. Working with these young people gives me a great inner satisfaction.”
The Access to Excellence Capital Campaign began in 1997 with a goal of raising $65 million. During the Campaign’s quiet phase, the University received $40 million in gifts and commitments. In 2000 the public phase of the Campaign was announced. The Campaign does not end until June 30.
The funds raised are being devoted to scholarships, faculty enhancement, program enhancements and new facilities and equipment at the University.
“The Campaign has made dramatic improvements in our capacity to offer students access to higher education of the highest quality,” said Dr. David Kline, interim UNF president. “It has also increased our appetite for building significant public/private partnerships.”
Initial goals for the capital campaign were to raise $25.3 million for scholarships, $14.6 for faculty enrichment, $14 million for program enhancements and $11.1 million for new facilities and equipment.
More than 11,000 donors have contributed to the Campaign to help eclipse those goals. Twenty-three of these gifts have been for $1 million or more, with the largest gift being $10 million, including matching funds, to the College of Business from Luther and Blanche Coggin. The college was named in their honor.
“We truly have accessed excellence by virtue of the efforts of the thousands of people who shared their resources as well as their time and energy for our University,” said Dr. Pierre Allaire, vice president of Institutional Advancement. “UNF is most thankful to our donors and to all of our volunteers for making this momentous occasion possible.”
According to Allaire, one of the strategies of the Access to Excellence campaign was to increase UNF’s volunteer base, which was at 200 when the Campaign began in 1997. That number has more than doubled in the last five-and-a-half years.
The latest figures show that the 23 gifts of $1 million or more have produced $65.4 for the Campaign. Eighty-six gifts of $100,000 to $1 million have totaled $25 million. This means 109 donors, combined with state-matching funds for their gifts, have accounted for $90.4 million, which is 90.4 percent of the total money raised by the Access to Excellence campaign. The final results will be compiled over the summer and published in a donor honor roll in the fall.
All five UNF colleges, the Division of Continuing Education, the Athletic Department and the UNF Library are involved in the Access to Excellence Capital Campaign, which is the first such campaign in the 30-year history of the University.
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