UAlberta fundraising strong and stable

Philanthropic investment in university rises in past year despite economic uncertainty.


Despite the economic instability of the past year, philanthropic investment in the University of Alberta remains strong. Alumni, friends, corporations and foundations gave $115.3 million to the U of A in 2015-16, slightly higher than last year and the third highest annual total in university history.

U of A science student Kaylan Burns is one of many students benefiting from the more than 3,800 U of A awards, scholarships and bursaries made possible through the generosity of donors. Donors provide one of every three dollars of financial assistance given to undergraduate students, totalling just under $8.6 million.

Kaylan, who wants to become a doctor and is the first person in her family to attend a post-secondary school, said it “felt really rewarding” to receive the Neil Siemens Science Entrance Scholarship. “It feels really special to get a scholarship as recognition for all the hard work you've done and for all that you've accomplished.”

Supporting learning and research

Of the $115.3 million in philanthropic investment in the university:

  • four per cent was directed to capital projects and facilities
  • nine per cent supported student awards and bursaries
  • 37 per cent enhanced academic programs, including supporting student experiential learning opportunities and student research projects
  • 50 per cent advanced research

“Scholarships, awards and bursaries represent more than just financial support for students,” said Advancement Vice-President Heather McCaw. “This investment represents opportunity—the chance for students to achieve their potential, to do something great and to become the kind of change-makers our society needs.”

Contributions to the U of A also advance the research needed to tackle society’s biggest challenges, such as climate change and peace and conflict resolution. About 50 per cent of philanthropic support to the university in 2015-16 was directed towards research.

“With the support of donors, university researchers are finding better treatments for health conditions and moving closer to a cure for diseases like multiple sclerosis and cancer,” said McCaw. “Donor-supported research is preventing train derailments and building collapses. It is helping us to learn more about the history that has shaped us, to take better care of seniors and so much more.”

In 2015-16, 18,152 donors invested in the U of A. It was a record year for people committing to remember the university in their will, totalling $23,025,845.

“We thank our donors for their belief and commitment in the University of Alberta. Their donations inspire excellence and achievement,” said McCaw. “The work of universities sparks positive social, cultural and economic change. By investing in our students, researchers, teachers and facilities, donors to the U of A are investing in a better future.”

More information and stories of generosity are available at giving.ualberta.ca