Letter to the Editor: Rider’s fundraising: ‘Strong, on the rise’

I feel it’s important for me to comment on factually inaccurate statements about the scope of fundraising in support of various capital projects built on campus in your recent article entitled “Administration, AAUP spar on financial differences.” In connection with a list of major capital projects built from 2005 through the present, the article states, “The university did not receive any big capital gifts or raise a lot of money to fund these projects.” Actually that couldn’t be further from the truth.
The university raised more than $20 million in private support that enabled Rider to move ahead with strategic facilities projects including North Hall, the Bart Luedeke Center Theater, the Student Recreation Center, Ben Cohen Field, Sonny Pittaro Field, Herb & Joan Young Field, and the Hillman Performance Hall within the new Cullen Center. The $20+ million total also includes generous alumni, faculty and staff gifts toward recent upgrades to and the planned expansion of Alumni Gym. So to say that Rider didn’t “raise a lot of money to fund these projects” is both incorrect and fails to acknowledge the many alumni, trustees, faculty, staff, parents, corporations, foundations and graduating seniors who have made Rider a philanthropic priority in recent years and in record numbers.
The article goes on to say that, “We did a little better fundraising than in the past, but we need to do a lot better.” Based both on the trends reflected in the university’s audited financial statements and comparisons to peer institutions (using Moody’s Investors Service benchmarking data), Rider’s fundraising results are strong and on the rise. Moody’s most current benchmarking shows total gifts for peers in the five years ending June 30, 2012, averaging $5.5 million per year. By contrast, Rider’s total gifts over the same period were 38% higher than our peers, averaging $7.6 million per year. The $7.6 million average also represents a 53% increase over Rider’s results for the 2003-08 period, which averaged $5 million per year. This 53% increase is more than just “a little better than in the past” and is fairly remarkable given that three of the most recent years fell during the Great Recession, the most prolonged and damaging financial downturn since the Great Depression. Just last year, Rider received $14.1 million in new cash gifts and pledges paid, the largest annual total Rider has ever received.
Thank you for allowing me to offer a contrasting viewpoint to those expressed in last week’s article.

-Jonathan Meer
Vice president for University Advancement


Printed in 2/26/14 edition.

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