By: Joshua Ceballos/News Director
The University is well on its way to reaching its $750 million goal as part of their Next Horizon Campaign, as the fundraising ramps up after the public kickoff.
The campaign technically had its onset when University President Mark B. Rosenberg was first sworn in as president in 2009. When Rosenberg became president, he promised to raise $750 million for the University, according to Howard Lipman, the CEO of the FIU Foundation.
Next Horizon officially started its “quiet phase” on paper in 2013. During this portion of any capital campaign, the fundraising is not announced to the public, and individuals from the University privately reach out to donors and investors to put money in over time.
Saturday, Jan. 26, marked the beginning of the “public phase” in which the community at large is officially made aware of the campaign and the fundraising goal for the university. In FIU’s case, this kickoff involved a celebration that featured musical performances, presentations from various University departments and initiatives as well as speeches from faculty and students about their experiences at FIU.
The wide goal of the campaign is the total of $750 million, but that enormous sum of money is split into a series of goals that fall under two pillars: “Student Success,” and “Research Preeminence.”
In the first pillar are the subgoals of $145 million to increase scholarships and internship readiness programs, $300 million to incentivize professors and optimize teaching with technology and $130 million to improve the community through environmental programs and workforce development, among other things.
On the research preeminence side, $125 million is allotted to go towards research projects, professorships and preeminent programs, $5 million for entrepreneurial development and $45 million are allotted for the miscellaneous “special opportunities” designation.
When donors approach the University, they can pick which basket they would like their money to go to. One donor may have a heart for first-generation students and put their money towards scholarships, while another may want to see more research done in the medical field and put their donation towards research preeminence.
“The world of philanthropy has changed greatly in recent years,” said Lipman. “Gone are the days of donors just giving money for a general purpose. Philanthropists are very specific on what they want their money to go to, and what causes are important to them.”
$475 million had already been raised in the quiet phase by Thursday, Jan. 24, and the money hasn’t sat around, according to Lipman. As soon as the University receives donations, work goes into using it for its designated purpose.
In 2018, Jorge and Darlene Perez donated $1 million to the Honors College to help students planning to work in South Florida after graduation, and this money was used to create the Jorge and Darlene Pérez Scholars Endowment. This would fit into the student success pillar.
As soon as the public phase was opened on Jan. 26, a new donation was already made to the University in front of a crowd of attendees. Trish and Dan Bell, members of the FIU Foundation board of directors, announced that they would be donating $5 million to create a nondenominational, interfaith chapel on campus, which would be a “special opportunity” for the University.
The campaign is predicted to end around 2020, but Lipman said it could go further until they reach the $750 million goal.
“We may even go beyond $750 million, we could reach a billion. We will continue to operate as long as we get donations and receive support from our alumni and community,” said Lipman.