GW received nearly $250 million in donations in fiscal year 2015, nearly triple the amount it received the year before, according to new data.
That total also put GW at No. 4 of the 11 peer schools included in the report, which the Council for Aid to Education released last week. Institutions nationwide raised more than $40 billion, a 7 percent increase from the previous year, according to the report.
Ann Kaplan, who wrote the report, said GW’s eye-popping increase was likely due to momentum from its $1 billion fundraising campaign, which publicly launched in June 2014. Ten peer schools topped GW in donations received that year.
Kaplan said the large total donated nationwide was due to a “double-digit” increase in large gifts from foundations and companies.
The full report will not be released until later this spring, Kaplan said. Stanford University landed at No. 1 on the published list of 20 schools, receiving a record-high $1.63 billion. Even with a smaller alumni base than many other large schools, Kaplan said Stanford’s other assets, like art museums and hospitals, helped bring in donations.
The University of Southern California, one of GW’s peer schools, ranked third on the list.
GW received $98.5 million in fiscal year 2014, lower than 10 of its peer schools, according to the data.
James Plourde, a senior consultant for the fundraising consulting agency Campbell & Company, said he expects GW’s donations to continue to climb as the fundraising campaign nears its finish line, likely ahead of schedule.
“Campaigns are such an effective fundraising tool because they mobilize everybody behind a single cause,” Plourde said. “It forces the university to analyze the areas that they want to grow and have a vision for the future and how that can go about being funded.”
The report predicted that philanthropy will modestly increase in 2016, the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported. It also fuels criticism that a small group of already wealthy schools continue to benefit from philanthropy the most: The top 20 schools raised almost 30 percent of the total.