Charitable Gifts, Private Grants to UC Merced Increase Sharply in 2007-08 Fiscal Year

Bob and Marie Gallo Foundation gift - a concert grand pianoMERCED - Despite a marked downturn in statewide economic fortunes, charitable gifts and private grants to the University of California, Merced during the 2007-08 fiscal year increased by more than 70 percent, to nearly $10.6 million, the university said today (Aug. 13).

Approximately 950 individuals, corporations and charitable foundations contributed to the total, the university said, up 23 percent compared to a year ago. The average gift per donor was $11,156 while the largest was $2 million. The fiscal year ended June 30.

"These donations are helping UC Merced pursue its vital mission here in the Valley in many important ways. We are deeply grateful," said UC Merced Chancellor Steve Kang. "In today's challenging economic climate, we couldn't be more pleased by the growing generosity of the many individuals and organizations who support UC Merced and want to contribute to its success."

"Increasingly, universities must depend on private gifts to help construct and furnish buildings, to provide scholarships, to conduct research in the public interest and to supplement tight operating budgets," said Kang.

The largest single gift was provided by the California Community Foundation, a philanthropic organization based in Los Angeles. The foundation's $2 million gift will help provide research infrastructure, student support and other assistance to the university's Nonimaging Optics Laboratory, which conducts research and develops technologies in the field of solar energy.

A sampling of other gifts includes:

* $1 million from the Pacific Gas and Electric Corporation Foundation to support programs for student retention, recruitment and service learning in the School of Engineering;

* $75,000 from Wells Fargo to provide scholarships for Central Valley high-school and community college transfer students;

* $60,000 from the George and Judy Marcus Family Foundation to support the UC Merced symposium on academic organizational structure being planned for this fall;

* $50,000 from the Bob and Marie Gallo Foundation to help launch the UC Merced music program and acquire a concert grand piano;

* $50,000 from the Robert J. Glushko & Pamela Samuelson Foundation to support student participation in cognitive-science conferences, to underwrite student awards for research excellence and to fund a visitor program that will bring leading cognitive-science scholars to campus each semester; and

* $6,000 from the Jane and Marc Nathanson Family Foundation to underwrite the cost of applying for a broadcast license from the Federal Communications Commission for the university's first FM radio station.

"Thoughtful and timely gifts can make an enormous difference in the development of key programs and in the achievements of our faculty and students," said John Garamendi Jr., vice chancellor for University Relations. "In a period of severe budget constraints throughout the state and within the UC system, we are deeply appreciative that so many individuals and organizations have chosen to support UC Merced so generously."

The $10.6 million gift total in 2007-08 brings the university's grand total since it began accepting gifts in 1998 to $62.9 million.

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