Private donations to Georgetown fell for the second consecutive year in fiscal year 2006, resisting a national increase in donations to U.S. colleges of over 9 percent. According to a report released last week by the Council for Aid to Education, Georgetown raised over $98 million during the 2006 fiscal year, a drop of more than $1 million from 2005. Georgetown raised over $105 million during the 2004 fiscal year, according to a survey in The Chronicle of Philanthropy. Alumni, charitable organizations, and other individuals donated for the majority of funds. Georgetown raised more money than any other school in the District of Columbia, taking in almost twice the donations of the next highest school, The George Washington University, but lagged far behind Stanford University, which led the national rankings with $911 million. Harvard and Yale finished second and third, respectively. With the new figures, Georgetown placed 52nd nationally among the survey respondents. Jeffrey Donahoe, senior director of communications for the Office of Advancement, which manages private donations, explained in a report released in October that donations dropped in 2005 in part because potential donors chose to support the Hurricane Katrina and Southeast Asia tsunami relief efforts. “Of course you want to see the numbers going up,” he said in the report. “There are other things that also have a high priority.” University administrators said that they expect Georgetown’s fundraising to improve in the next few years as a result of the Board of Directors’ decision to increase funding for the Office of Advancement, which oversees the donations, by $8.2 million for the 2008 fiscal year. They hope that this allocation will boost the institution’s upcoming capital campaign. Donahoe said that the additional funding will help the office’s outreaching efforts, adding that Georgetown will use the new budgetary funds primarily for improving communications and strengthening the university’s relationship with alumni, parents and friends, Donahoe said. “The dollars will certainly help us succeed in a capital campaign as we reach more audiences with the story of developing Georgetown’s potential for an even greater role in higher education and world affairs,” Donahoe said. Ann Kaplan, director of the Council for Aid to Education survey, said that the combination of a strong national economy and aggressive fundraising campaigns by academic institutions has fueled the recent overall growth in personal donations. “The stock market was strong. The economy was stable. People making gifts had more assets with which to make them,” Kaplan said. “Also, a number of institutions were in the midst of capital campaigns, in which they are actively seeking and making a good case for warranting larger-than-usual gifts.” Kaplan said that it is hard to predict whether last year’s increase in contributions would continue in future years. She said that although the amount of giving would probably rise during the 2007 fiscal year, unusually large gifts – which are often the hardest to forecast – frequently play an important role in the growth of charitable contributions. “If the economy remains stable and institutions are asking for gifts, then giving should rise,” she said. “It’s impossible to say if giving will go up at a similar rate, though, since those kinds of increases tend to be caused by idiosyncratic large gifts that by definition don’t follow patterns we can predict statistically.”

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