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WesternU Capital Campaign surpasses goal, builds tradition of giving back

by Rodney Tanaka

September 5, 2012

Read 3 mins

Western University of Health Sciences greatly exceeded its Capital Campaign goal and set the stage for future success in the process.

The Capital Campaign had a five-year goal of raising $35 million by WesternU’s 35th anniversary, a yearlong celebration that began Sept. 4, 2012.

The WesternU Board of Trustees officially closed the campaign at its August meeting on the recommendation of the Campaign Steering Committee chaired by board Vice Chairman Richard Bond, DO ’82. The campaign concludes with more than $50 million raised, which will benefit all aspects of the University: equipping and furnishing the Health Education Center, Patient Care Center and other campus facilities, supporting research, providing faculty aid and funding scholarships and other support for students.

“We are overwhelmed by the generosity and support we received from a wide range of donors, who are truly investing in the future of health care,” said WesternU President Philip Pumerantz, PhD. “Their commitment is a sign of faith in our mission of bringing compassionate, humanistic, patient-centered care to the communities we serve.”

WesternU will celebrate this achievement and thank those who helped the University reach this goal at its annual gala “A Tribute to Caring” on Nov. 10, 2012 at the Disneyland Hotel. The 2012 ATC theme is “Look how far you’ve brought us.”

The Capital Campaign benefited from the foundation built by Dr. Pumerantz, Dr. Ethan Allen and other WesternU pioneers, said WesternU Senior Vice President Thomas G. Fox, PhD.

“They built very solid relationships in the community, so there were friends of WesternU that came through for this campaign,” he said.

WesternU successfully reached out to new donors and to its campus family for contributions. The $100 million campus expansion helped raise interest in the Capital Campaign and provides many naming opportunities. The start of four new colleges in 2009-10 allowed WesternU to tap into new prospects. COMP-Northwest, which welcomed its first class in July 2011, is receiving tremendous support from the health care and business communities in Lebanon and throughout the Pacific Northwest.

An annual Phonathon is helping WesternU update its information on alumni, parent donors and friends of the University, get feedback from them, and raise money. The 2011-12 Phonathon resulted in more than 500 gifts and pledges from alumni, parents and friends of the University, including several who had not donated before.

As a result of these and many other factors, the Capital Campaign received contributions from about 2,500 donors, including 1,887 first-time donors. The amount of alumni support is impressive considering the relative youth of WesternU as an institution. The College of Osteopathic Medicine of the Pacific graduated its first class in 1982. These early classes were relatively small, so WesternU has a smaller pool of older more established alumni. A number of WesternU alumni are still in residency training or just starting to pay off student debt.

“So you should only at this point be beginning to look at major giving from alumni,” Fox said. “We did better than we might have expected. We had some alumni make significant gifts.”

WesternU will be in a good position for future campaigns, with a growing list of friends and an older, larger alumni base. The University annually awards more than 300 scholarships valued at more than $600,000, and new goals are already being set.

“We’re building a tradition of giving back, a tradition of sharing,” Fox said. “The amount of money we’re raising for scholarships is a significant assistance. Our goal is to be able to annually award $1 million in scholarships, and the only way you’re going to do that is with fundraising campaigns with specific goals.”

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