The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University are among 25 U.S. colleges and universities in the midst of campaigns to raise $1 billion or more.
Experts say that’s not just good news for the schools, but for the economy of Pittsburgh and the surrounding region.
“Even if you use a fairly conservative multiplier effect of three or four times, assuming a lot of this is new dollars coming into Pittsburgh, it’s a significant impact on a community and a tremendous source of price to a community,” said John Lippencott, president of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. The group represents fundraisers at 3,200 colleges and universities.
Pitt officials have raised $862 million dollars toward their goal.
Although Carnegie Mellon officials don’t plan to announce their fundraising target until mid-2008, faculty officials say administrators have put the goal at about $1 billion. The school has raised about $244 million so far.
Nationwide, the University of Virginia is about 25 percent of the way into a campaign to raise $3 million, according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. New York University, Michigan, UCLA and Johns Hopkins are among other U.S. universities involved in multibillion-dollar campaigns.
The schools are the only two in Pennsylvania with billion-dollar fundraising campaigns. But Penn State and the University of Pennsylvania have each raised about $1.4 billion in the past decade.
The money can be used for everything from constructing new facilities to recruiting students and faculty.
“They need that kind of financial undergirding to compete for students and for top faculty,” said Bob Carter, president of Ketchum Pittsburgh, which consults with nonprofit groups on fundraising campaigns.
The drive at Carnegie Mellon, which is renowned for its robotics and computer science programs, will focus on the school’s innovations in the arts, business, technology and public policy, said Robbee Kosack, vice president of university advancement.
CMU has already received more than 30 gifts of $1 million or more, including $20 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for a new computer science building.
Although the schools are just blocks from each other, they likely won’t be competing for the same money. Most of the funds are being raised from alumni and other sources, not from local benefactors.
CMU’s drive is focusing on Asia, home of a quarter of the school’s 8,500 students and 70 percent of its international alumni.
“They can’t raise all that money in Pittsburgh,” Carter said. “We don’t have it in Pittsburgh.”
— Associated Press
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