University of Alabama Celebrates Record-Breaking Fundraising Year
The University of Alabama raised nearly $226 million dollars this fiscal year ending Sept. 30, setting a new record. The money raised came from a combination of charitable gifts and pledges from nearly 60,000 donors.
This record-breaking achievement follows the one-year anniversary of the public launch of The Rising Tide Capital Campaign, a $1.5 billion initiative to elevate areas on campus, including, student scholarships, athletics, campus facilities and faculty research.
The Rising Tide is now on its seventh year of a 10-year campaign, having raised $1.16 billion at the time of publication. It also brings UA’s five-year fundraising average to $205 million since 2018, double the average raised five years immediately prior to current UA President Stuart R. Bell’s arrival on campus in 2015.
“UA’s extraordinary fundraising success is a direct reflection of how our faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors and friends steadfastly support our mission and vision,” said Bell. “Our stature as a leader in higher education continues to be enhanced by the generous philanthropy of our many stakeholders, and as a result, our students reap the rewards of the Alabama experience.”
Highlighting this year’s success was the Smith family’s $20 million gift commitment to the Performing Arts Academic Center, which will be named the Smith Family Center for the Performing Arts pending approval by the UA System Board of Trustees. The Smith family's donation honors Mark Smith, co-founder of the global telecommunications company ADTRAN, who passed away in 2007.
“Our family’s passion for the arts goes back many generations,” said Clay Smith, Mark's son, who made the gift alongside his wife, Cameron, and his mother, Linda. “Music and the arts have impacted our family tremendously. They defined my father, and they helped define me. To give back to the community in this way while honoring my dad’s memory is incredibly rewarding.”
The Smith Family Center for the Performing Arts, which will connect to the restored Bryce Main, will house four new performance theatres for the department of theatre and dance as well as UA’s new Catherine and Pettus Randall Welcome Center in Bryce Main.
UA’s goal is to create 75 new endowed faculty positions by The Rising Tide’s conclusion in 2026. In 2021-2022, five new chairs and professorships were committed across five academic departments, thanks to $3.6 million in contributions. This is to allow for increased recruiting of talent and funding for groundbreaking research, UA said.
Gifts made toward the 2022 Bama Blitz online crowdfunding campaign also played a role in the successful fundraising year. Bama Blitz also set a record this year, raising nearly $6.2 million in three days with 93% of gifts at $500 or less.
"We have truly incredible alumni and donors at The University of Alabama,” said Bob Pierce, vice president for advancement at UA. “To be at this point of The Rising Tide and to continue setting fundraising records is a testament to the dedication of our supporters and their passion for the Capstone. They are transforming the University and changing the lives of our students through their philanthropy.”