An unexpected $56 million gift to the University of Washington’s School of Law from an eccentric philanthropist helped the university top its previous fundraising record by $144 million this year.
The UW raised $482,452,318 in the 2013-14 fiscal year, a new all-time high.
Private donations are typically earmarked by donors for very specific purposes, such as the money philanthropist Jack MacDonald left the university when the 98-year-old UW alumnus died in September. MacDonald’s gift — the largest gift to the law school in its history, and the largest estate gift to the UW as a whole — pays for student scholarships and general education needs at the UW law school, and was used to create the Jack MacDonald Endowed Chair.
Because private gifts are usually so specific, they don’t replace the university’s funding needs from state appropriations and tuition. But they often support research, endowed chairs and student scholarships, among other things.
In all, the UW received contributions from 108,696 donors; more than 40,000 of them gave $99 or less. Private and family foundations contributed a total of $117 million.
In addition to the Jack MacDonald Estate, the other top corporate and foundation donors were the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation.
It’s the fourth consecutive year that the UW broke its own record for fundraising. Annual donations to the university in 2013-14 were nearly double the amount the university raised in 2004-05.