Harvard Fundraising Remains Steady in Trying Times

Harvard donations totaled $596M in fiscal year ending June 30

Harvard University received donations worth $596 million in the fiscal year ending June 30, down slightly from the $602 million raised a year earlier.

Despite the slight decline, the year’s numbers encouraged Harvard’s fundraisers during last year’s weak economy.

“In a time when people were feeling uncertain, we feel very good about that,” said Tamara E. Rogers ’74, Harvard’s vice president for alumni affairs and development, referring to the fundraising total.

The number of donors increased in fiscal year 2010, but they tended to give slightly lower amounts on average than last year.

“We didn’t see as many huge gifts as we have in past years, but we did see good, solid performance,” Rogers said.


Harvard has not yet released fundraising numbers for individual schools, but the Faculty of Arts and Sciences exceeded its goal of raising $40 million dollars in current-use funds. Those funds can be spent immediately for any purpose, making them especially desirable for FAS administrators cutting budgets.

The University did not disclose what portion of this year’s receipts were available for current use versus investment in the endowment.

The total announced today includes only cash received in fiscal year 2010 and does not include money that has been pledged but not received.

Among Harvard’s professional schools, Harvard Business School, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard Kennedy School had the strongest fundraising years.

According to Rogers, peer institutions’ fundraising numbers were similar to Harvard’s totals.

“It’s hard to compare to our exact peers because most are in or have just completed [capital] campaigns, but it looks in a preliminary way that holding steady was a good result,” she said. “A couple were up, a number were down, and some were holding steady.”

Plans for the future of the University’s own, long-awaited capital campaign remain unclear, but administrators are heartened by this year’s returns.

“It’s a great place to start from, and I’m very encouraged by the numbers of donors, and by the fact that our numbers held steady,” Rogers said. “Naturally, I wish that we had had more really large gifts, but I have great confidence for the future.”

Harvard’s last campaign, which ended in 2001, raised $2.6 billion, equivalent to $3.2 billion in today’s dollars.

Today’s announcement follows recent good news on University finances—just over a week ago, the Harvard Management Company announced an 11 percent investment return for the endowment in fiscal year 2010.

—Staff writer Elias J. Groll can be reached at

—Staff writer William N. White can be reached at