Hopkins receives record donations to exceed its goal

Six-year campaign nets $1.52 billion with `awesome' gifts

July 17, 2000|By Michael Hill | Michael Hill,SUN STAFF

Johns Hopkins has concluded a six-year fund-raising drive that raised $1.52 billion, by far the largest such campaign in the history of the institution.

According to figures released today, the drive that ended on June 30 attracted the five largest gifts in Hopkins' history and 17 of the largest 20, including $100 million pledged by Hopkins board of trustees Chairman Michael R. Bloomberg.

"This is just fabulous," said Hopkins President William R. Brody of the conclusion of the campaign known as the Johns Hopkins Initiative that started with a goal of $900 million.

"When we raised the goal to $1.2 billion in 1998, there were a lot of people who said we could never do that," he said. "But the response has been awesome."

Robert R. Lindgren, Hopkins' vice president for development, said Harvard just finished a $2.2 billion campaign and Yale recently raised $1.7 billion.

"We're not quite in that league, but we are certainly in the top five, six, seven right now," Lindgren said. "Given the size and scale of Hopkins, that is a very good place to be."

Bloomberg, Brody and Lindgren all credited the country's booming economy for the levels of giving, especially since the rising stock market gave investors stocks whose rise in value would have been heavily taxed had they not been given to charitable institutions.

"There is no question that a strong economy over the past decade made this success possible," Bloomberg said in a statement. "But that just made it possible. Two other factors made it happen: a university and health system that have done great things, and supporters determined that these institutions should accomplish even more."

Said Brody: "Hopkins is clearly perceived as doing a lot of interesting things. People see it as a place where they can get a good psychic return on their investment."

Lindgren said two-thirds of the $1.52 billion came from gifts of $1 million or more.

"Those obviously account for the big numbers, but there are another 100,000 or so gifts of less than $100,000 - in most cases far less than $100,0000 - that account for about 10 percent of the total but are particularly important because they are most often unrestricted gifts," Lindgren said.

"They give the maximum flexibility to the deans and department chairs to meet their needs," he said.

Surprising amounts

Brody said he was often surprised by the size of gifts.

"People would give us $10 million. Obviously these are wealthy people, but I didn't think they would be able to give us that much," he said. "And there were people who would give us $100 that would leave me flabbergasted because I didn't think they could afford to give us $10."

Out-of-state sources

Lindgren said he was particularly impressed that 65 percent of the money raised came from outside Maryland.

"It speaks to the national and international character of the institution," he said. "But in terms of economic development, I think having all that money coming from outside of Maryland and brought to this place to be spent here is just great."

The Johns Hopkins Initiative was announced in June 1994 with almost $275 million in pledges that had been accumulated in the previous three years.

Hopkins officials said that since then, because of the gifts and the rising stock market, the school's endowment has more than doubled, from $740 million to more than $1.7 billion. Money from the endowment's investments is used to support the school's operating expenses.

Lindgren said the campaign's goal was to put 58 percent of its funds into endowment and capital projects. He said most fund-raising drives come in at about 40 percent for these long-range goals because it is often easier to raise money for continuing programs.

"I haven't done the final calculations, but I believe we came in at 57 percent. That will have a big impact on the institution for a long, long period of time," Lindgren said, emphasizing that Hopkins still has a relatively small endowment, ranking about 22nd among American universities.

`Hard to play catch-up'

"These are institutions that we compete with for students and faculty," he said of those with larger endowments. "If someone has an endowment twice as big as ours and we both grow at the same rate, the gap just gets bigger. It's hard to play catch-up in this area when the market is rising as it is."

Hopkins' last fund-raising campaign concluded 10 years ago. Its goal was $600 million, and it raised $644 million.

In 1976, to celebrate the school's centennial, the Hopkins Hundreds campaign raised $100 million, at the time the biggest campaign of its type in the country. The gift from Bloomberg during the most current drive alone equaled that.

10 largest gifts to Hopkins

The 10 largest single gifts and pledges made to the Johns Hopkins University and/or the Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, along with the year in which each was announced.

* Counts toward the $1.2 billion goal of the Johns Hopkins Initiative, a campaign ending in 2000.

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