Philanthropy News

Gifts to U.S. Colleges Rose 2.3% in 2012, Narrowly Outpacing Inflation

Date: 02/20/2013

The Chronicle of Philanthropy

February 20, 2013
Reported by Don Troop


America's colleges and universities took in $31-billion in donations in the 2012 fiscal year, a 2.3-percent increase over 2011's total of $30.3-billion, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Council for Aid to Education.

Although the growth in gifts was well below last year's 8.2-percent rise and amounted to just a 0.2-percent increase when adjusted for inflation, analysts who spoke to The Chronicle said they were largely encouraged by the report, which is based on the council's annual Voluntary Support of Education survey of more than 1,000 institutions.

Donald M. Fellows, president and chief executive of the philanthropic-consulting firm of Marts & Lundy, said the results suggest a gradual return to better times. The best year ever for charitable contributions to colleges was in 2008, when donors gave $31.6-billion.

"The sense we're getting from our clients is that the confidence is coming back," Mr. Fellows said. "I would anticipate that 2013 will be a stronger year than 2012, but we're still thinking that it's going to take several more years to get back to prerecessionary levels of giving."

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