The University of Houston-Victoria announced Nov. 10 the results of its multiyear fundraising campaign titled “Here, We Go” that raised $13.4 million, 12% more than the university’s $12-million goal.
“‘The Here, We Go’ campaign that ended Aug. 31 highlighted just how incredible UHV’s community is,” UHV President Bob Glenn said. “These donations are all individual endorsements of the university’s mission to offer a quality, affordable education to our students and serve our communities. I can’t thank our supporters enough for their confidence in us and our mission.”
Out of the final total of $13,430,540, 53% came from foundations, 25% came from individuals, and 21% was from corporations and other organizations. The funds went to a variety of needs across campus, including scholarships, student aid funds, equipment for new buildings, athletics and alumni programs.
During the campaign, UHV counted all donations to the university toward its goal. In the campaign period from 2012 to 2020, 4,591 donors gave to UHV, including 29 foundations, 408 corporations and other organizations, 2,328 alumni and 3,634 first-time donors. Donations ranged in size from $1 to $1.5 million, and 16 donors each gave $100,000 or more.
The number of donations is especially exciting for UHV because it is a major increase in philanthropy compared to giving levels before the campaign, said Jesse Pisors, UHV vice president for advancement and external relations. In the three years before the start of the campaign, the average giving to UHV each year was $700,000, and the average number of annual donors was 313. But in the final three years of the eight-year campaign, average annual giving was $2.2 million — an increase of more than 200% — and the average number of donors grew by 300$ to 1,220 a year. UHV saw a record number of donors every year from 2016 to 2019 and set an all-time annual giving record of $3.2 million in 2019.
“This campaign has created a wonderful, fresh focus on the university and its potential for helping students and the community,” Pisors said. “Every donation, from individuals who funded scholarships to foundations that supported major projects, has made an impact on UHV and the students it serves.”
One part of the university that received major donations from multiple sources during the course of the campaign was UHV’s science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs as well as its health-related programs. Some of the major gifts included a $1.5-million donation from the M.G. & Lillie A. Johnson Foundation to outfit labs in UHV University South and the UHV Northwest Center; annual donations from Alcoa Foundation for mathematics, robotics and computer science programs; and grants from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas for a kidney disease community health program.
Each of these donations and many others in support of STEM at UHV have enabled the university to grow programs that serve students and the needs of the area’s industries, said Daniel White, assistant professor and director of the biology and chemistry programs.
“I hope these donors understand how much they have done for us and our students,” White said. “These contributions — both in money and equipment — have put UHV at the same level of capacity as major universities like UH and have given us access to resources equivalent to what you would find at the Mayo Clinic. It’s amazing to see this much support, and I want to thank them for helping our students.”
Another area that benefited from a major donation during the campaign was UHV Athletics. In particular, the university received a land donation in 2018 from the Bennett-Wood family. The 65 acres, valued at $820,000, is located near the Victoria Regional Airport and is designated for a future UHV Athletics complex.
Seeing this donation and other gifts from the community support UHV and its student-athletes is a moving experience, said Nisa Ollivierre, a UHV senior and captain of the university’s women’s soccer team.
When she started playing for UHV as a freshman, the university only had one field for both practice and playing. Now, the university has a separate practice field, and she is excited to see how the complex will expand the university and serve future student-athletes.
“It’s an amazing feeling to know we have so much support from not just the university, but the community around it,” she said. “Being a student-athlete is about improving yourself, not just for you, but also for your teammates, your schoolmates and the people who look up to you. This level of love and commitment to UHV from the community and other donors inspires us to push harder and keep getting better.”