Western University of Health Sciences is nearing its $35 million Capital Campaign goal thanks to an expanding number of supporters giving donations large and small.

The Capital Campaign, which has a six-year goal of raising $35 million by WesternU’s 35th anniversary in 2012, recently surpassed $30 million in gifts and pledges.

The goals of the campaign are to provide support to students, faculty and research and to address building and equipment needs for WesternU’s growing campus, said Thomas Fox, PhD, Senior Vice President for Advancement.

The Capital Campaign has received contributions from about 1,400 donors, including multi-million dollar gifts. WesternU has also successfully reached out to new donors and to its campus family for contributions.

The ongoing "Name a Chair" campaign provides opportunities to place an elegant brass nameplate with a personalized inscription on a seat in the Health Education Center (HEC), Banfield Veterinary Clinical Center and Health Professions Center. The campaign has generated 183 donations ranging from $250 to $1,000.

Smaller gifts are very helpful, whether it’s sponsoring a $500 chair in HEC or attending WesternU’s annual gala "A Tribute to Caring," Fox said.

"Those dollars add up," he said. "We don’t want people to think the only ones that count are the million dollar gifts. You can’t do a successful campaign with only the big gifts."

A Phonathon conducted in fall 2009 helped WesternU update its information on alumni, parent donors and friends of the university, get feedback from them, and raise money.

The Phonathon generated 214 new donors and generated more than $20,000 in gifts and pledges.

WesternU is also reaching new donors because of the four new colleges opened in 2009-10: Dental Medicine, Optometry, Podiatric Medicine and Biomedical Sciences.

"We’ve been able to look at partnerships we were not able to look at before," Fox said. "You get a chance to tell your story in places you wouldn’t have told your story before."

The campaign goal is within reach, but WesternU has a lot of needs beyond $35 million, Fox said.

"The fact that we’re where we are with two and a half years to go takes away any concerns you won’t hit your goal," he said. "This opens an opportunity for us to do more than what we thought we’d be able to do. I’m sure we’ll continue expanding our reach and going beyond the $35 million."

The Capital Campaign provides a way to pay for equipment and other needs without having to rely on tuition dollars, Fox said.

"People want to participate in what we do, which is training the next generation of health professionals," he said. "We have a great team, and we couldn’t do it without the leadership of President Pumerantz, the Board of Trustees and Dr. Cohen, our Chief Operating Officer."