Last week, we announced a $750 million goal for our Make it Real comprehensive capital campaign. This makes it the most ambitious fundraising effort in our university’s history and, beyond that, the largest ever in the City of Richmond and the one of the largest ever in Virginia.
Make it Real is also historic in its inclusiveness: It is the first truly comprehensive campaign at Virginia Commonwealth University, with goals set for the College and every school and unit.
If it is possible to summarize a campaign of this magnitude, it is to say simply that Make it Real will transform VCU and accelerate our progress as one of the nation’s premier urban public research universities. It represents a new era for VCU.
The campaign reaffirms—and catalyzes—our commitments to student success, innovation and entrepreneurship, clinic care and enriching our community. As Quest for Distinction has helped us build a remarkable urban public research university, the one thing holding us back has been resources that match our ambitious vision. By launching our first truly comprehensive campaign, we can now move from engaging to tangible impact that makes a difference in the lives of everyone who crosses paths with our university.
A focus on endowed professorships and chairs will help us attract and retain the most distinguished faculty members in a range of academic disciplines. Our students will have a more robust educational experience, including experiential learning that adds 21st century relevance to their curriculum and more access to institutional financial aid that helps them graduate on time. Our patients will receive world-class care in first-class spaces. Our brand of translational and transformational research will move to help people more quickly. In new ways, we will be an economic, social and cultural engine in Greater Richmond and the Commonwealth.
Without question, three-quarters of a billion dollars is a big goal. I am fully confident we will meet it. In fact, we are already more than halfway there, eclipsing $440 million, making this already the largest fundraising effort we have ever achieved.
There is much to do. We have already received nearly 60 gifts of $1 million or more, it is certainly clear that gifts of all size make a large impact. For example, our first faculty, staff and retiree fundraising campaign generated almost 1,800 gifts that totaled $3.7 million.
The greatest measure of our success, however, will not be measured in dollars raised. It will be measured in people whose lives are made better because of VCU. This campaign is about the future of VCU, the ways we can shape society and the ways we can see our people succeed on their grandest stages.
That’s how we make it real.