Yale basks in glory of wild success in fund-raising campaign. And at Duke ????

Up at Yale, the summer-time lull was interrupted earlier this month with a joyful announcement: the school's five year fund-raising campaign -- originally targeted to raise $3 billion -- had ended with a whopping $3.881 billion. And who knows, the total may well have been far higher had the world-wide financial meltdown not occurred half way through the drive.

There were some very interesting gifts too. An anonymous donor stepped forward with $100 million -- so anyone studying music at the Yale School of Music, which offers masters degrees and a Ph.D., would no longer have to pay tuition. Later, the magazine Wine Spectator, of all sources, revealed the donor was Stephen Adams '59, who spent his undergraduate years as a "hail fellow well met" and did not develop a serious interest in music until he took up piano at age 55. Adams made a billion or two along the way in several industries, including recreational vehicles and vineyards in Bordeaux.

Then there is the $50 million from a donor who was not bashful, putting his name on the new Jackson Institute. At a time when bricks and mortar in other nations seem to dominate the approach of some universities, this is interesting because if gives a boost to Yale's international efforts right at home. It creates an undergraduate international studies major, as well as a graduate program, and the goals include "to attract the most talented students and scholars to Yale from around the world." FC emphasis on the words attract to Yale, located in New Haven.

In all, according to Princeton, there are 36 universities each seeking $1 billion or more right now. Stanford and Columbia are neck-in-neck to raise the most money, each going over $4 billion. Columbia, just three years ago in a #8 tie with Duke in the US News and World Report rankings, has soared to #4, though no one is so brash as to credit the new cash.

And where does Duke stand on a new capital campaign? Silent, that's where.

Though there have been several rumblings -- including President Brodhead's briefing the university strategic planning committee more than a year ago -- there is no firm indication that the "quiet phase" is underway -- where gifts totaling perhaps 30 or 40 percent of the total are lined up before a public launch. Indeed, some departments, like athletics, seeking $100 million principally to jazz up Wallace Wade Stadium, are seemingly going it alone, divorced from a university-wide strategy.

Duke has never pulled in the big donations like other schools: $500 million at Columbia, for example, from John Kluge, broadcasting entrepreneur and alumnus. Our biggest gift did not arrive at all -- Peter and Ginny Nicholas having reneged on a $72 million pledge for the school of the environment that already bears their name.

As FC has demonstrated, the so-called "gift" from The Duke Endowment of $80 million to renovate the Union, Page and Baldwin is more smoke than fire. It's just routine appropriations from the original money left by the founder, packaged to make a splash.

In the coming campaign, FC will carefully watch these elements:

A) We want to know how much new money -- new strength -- is being sought. Too much of the total of Duke's campaigns is often money that would come in even if there were no big push fund-raising effort.

B) We will watch for reliance on The Duke Endowment -- a captive donor giving out 1924 and 1925 money from the founder. This distorts our fundraising; fully 25 percent of Brodhead's Financial Aid Initiative and approximately 17 percent of Keohane's wildly successful Campaign for Duke came from The Duke Endowment. A crutch for fundraisers.

C) We will be watching and tell Loyal Readers when fundraisers are using the accounting system they developed to look good -- called CASE. Alone among Duke's financial numbers, donations do not use the Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, and thus, appear to be double what they really are. Yes FC will keep them honest!

D) And we will watch to see if President Brodhead will be aboard throughout the multi-year campaign. In his mid 60's, he easily would be 72 when it wrapped up. As much as we would like to see new leadership, it would be disastrous to try to bring in a new President in mid-way through a campaign.

One component of fund-raising is the Annual Fund. And since the Chronicle put this on the drawing board with its last issue, FC will comment.

Duke is heading just over $25 million in contributions -- approximately -- for the year ending June 30. Strange our PR department has not answered our request for specifics -- because such numbers have been out at Princeton since July 6 and at other schools as well.

Princeton, by the way, announced that its take from Annual Giving was just over $50 million, the second highest total ever, with 61.3 percent of alumni who got their undergraduate degree at Princeton contributing. Duke's $25 million is from a far larger alumni base.

We will have more on the mirage of Annual Giving when the stats are released.

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