OU comprehensive fundraising campaign surpasses $150M goal

Aspire. Advance. Achieve. fundraising effort ends largest, most successful campaign in school history

campaign, fundraising, advancement, philanthropy, westfall, gift, donation

icon of a calendarJanuary 22, 2024

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OU comprehensive fundraising campaign surpasses $150M goal
One of the campaign highlights is the development/evolution of the School of Nursing SIM(ulation) Lab

The Oakland University community gathered on Monday, January 22 to celebrate a major milestone in school history. It marked the official conclusion of the largest fundraising effort in school history, surpassing its goal more than six months early.

The ambitious $150 million Aspire. Advance. Achieve fundraising campaign began in November of 2018 when journalist and best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell came to campus to help kick off the public announcement of the campaign. At the gala event, he talked about how philanthropy can impact and transform the future direction of schools like OU.

Ora Pescovitz headshot
OU President
Ora Pescovitz

That day, President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz said, “(OU founder) Matilda Dodge Wilson never shied away from a challenge. She liked to say that Oakland is a place where the aspiring will rise. With your help, we will not only rise, but we will reach for the stars.”

This past year saw OU raise $36.1 million, the most successful single year of fundraising in school history. A couple of other interesting statistics that stand out from this campaign are that nearly 89% of the 51,144 gifts were of $1,000 or less and 61% of the gifts came from first-time donors. Of note, one donor, Patti Finnegan Sharf, reached the amazing record of 50 consecutive years of donating to OU with her contributions this year to the campaign.

Money raised during this campaign is earmarked to support student success and scholarships, teaching, research and discovery, innovative programming, community engagement and campus infrastructure and technology upgrades.

Mike Westfall headshot
VP for Advancement
Mike Westfall

“Leading a campaign during our country’s worst pandemic in 100 years was challenging, yet very rewarding,” said Vice President for Advancement Mike Westfall. “Everyone on the Advancement team rose to the challenges, pushed themselves to do their personal bests and I think OU donors recognized that dedication and commitment, motivating them to support the university and, in particular, our students more than ever.”

Watch the Campaign Close video

Campaign by the numbers:

  • $150M campaign goal, largest in Oakland University history, achieved its goal six months ahead of schedule with final results of $151,971,818
  • The final year of the shortened campaign was FY23 and saw the best fundraising year in the history of Oakland University with $36.1m generated
  • Total unique donor count of 19,871 making 51,144 gifts and pledges 
  • Total first-time donors: 12,260 representing 61% of all donors
  • Young alumni donors: 2,876 representing 14% of all donors
  • 45,338 gifts of $1,000 or less representing 88.6% of all gifts
  • $14,371,978 generated from faculty, staff and retirees representing 9% of campaign total. .
  • 1,238 corporations made 3,271 gifts and pledges totaling $49.1M representing 32% of total campaign support

Of the money raised:

  • $73.3 million will support scholarships and student support
  • $20.4 million will support innovative programming
  • $21.9 million will support teaching and research
  • $20 million will support facilities and infrastructure upgrades
  • $16.2 million will go to community collaborations

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