Lexington, Ky. – The University of Kentucky’s administrative fundraising office, formerly known as the Office of Development, will soon become the Office of Philanthropy, making it perhaps the first major public research institution in the nation to do so.
The new name will take effect Wednesday, Nov. 11.
“Philanthropy is assuming a greater leadership role at the University of Kentucky as it has played a significant part historically funding the Markey Cancer Center and more recently the Gatton College of Business Building, Student Center, Academic Science Building, the future Lewis Honors College and many more capital projects and academic programs, and will provide noteworthy and measurable resources toward funding UK’s recently approved Strategic Plan,” said UK President Eli Capilouto.
“In light of this enhanced role, UK’s philanthropy program is evolving as a voice of philanthropy for the university, our community and the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said Capilouto. “Becoming the Office of Philanthropy allows UK to create and encourage a new culture of private investment in our mission. Philanthropy unifies us as a community of scholars as we embrace our Commonwealth and its dreams, needs, challenges and opportunities. At UK, philanthropy provides opportunities throughout the lifetime of our alumni — from cradle to grave — and creates roaring advocates for our institution and state.”
During 2015, UK has received its two largest gifts from philanthropists and UK alumni Bill Gatton and Tom Lewis, amounting to nearly $44 million. According to Richey, last fiscal year, 54,275 donors made 101,277 gifts to UK, the first time the university has topped the 100,000 mark. UK secured record results in both gift receipts of $118.2 million and in new commitments received more than $168.3 million.
UK vice president for development and chief development office D. Michael Richey noted that the word “development” has several connotations, thereby often leading to prospective donors’ confusion.
“Renaming the office is more than changing the name on a building, letterhead or business card,” Richey said. “Becoming the Office of Philanthropy better clarifies what we do as professionals and how we interact with current and prospective donors on behalf of the University of Kentucky.”
“For many, development can be attributed to other aspects of a university such as student development, career development, and even construction and facilities,” said Richey. “Philanthropy, on the other hand, more clearly defines the mission of our office. For the public, UK’s philanthropy represents the quality and condition of our institutional heart. We care for people. We desire to make a difference in the lives of all Kentuckians by improving their quality of life. We are committed to being donor centered and principle driven.”
Richey said that with this move, he believes the Office of Philanthropy will further establish itself as a national, if not global, model among colleges and universities as he anticipates others favoring the use of “philanthropy” over “development.”
Sue Cunningham, president of Washington, D.C.-based Council for Advancement and Support of Education, one of the world’s largest nonprofit educational associations in higher education, praised UK for its decision.
“The University of Kentucky is to be congratulated on the changing of the name of its Office of Development to the Office of Philanthropy,” said Cunningham. “UK demonstrates a spirit of innovation through this renaming, placing further emphasis on the importance of philanthropic support and donor engagement in the advancement and support of education. It is this passionate commitment to the furtherance of education that is transforming lives and impacting the world.”
A formal announcement of the renaming will be made Wednesday by Capilouto at UK’s newest dining facility, The 90, in conjunction with National Philanthropy Week. A brunch will follow with guest speaker and author of the soon-to-be-released book, “The Almanac of American Philanthropy,” Karl Zinsmeister, vice president of The Philanthropy Roundtable in Washington, D.C.