Hopkins Campaign Raises a 'Stunning' $3.7 Billion

Ronald J. Daniels will become president of Hopkins starting on March 2. Daniels will succeed William R. Brody, who is stepping down.
Ronald J. Daniels will become president of Hopkins starting on March 2. Daniels will succeed William R. Brody, who is stepping down. (By Jed Kirschbaum -- AP)
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 23, 2009; Page B02

Johns Hopkins officials announced last night that they have raised more than $3.7 billion in an 8 1/2 -year fundraising effort, the second-largest total ever raised in a U.S. university campaign.

The money, some of which already has been spent, is helping the private university in Baltimore launch a business school, provide scholarships to low-income students from nearby public schools and fund research into the way malaria is transmitted to humans, among other initiatives.

The fundraising "is a stunning achievement," said John Lippincott, president of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, a nonprofit advocacy organization. Only four other universities have raised $3 billion or more in a campaign and only one, Stanford University, has exceeded Hopkins's total, with more than $3.8 billion as of August.

Universities are raising increasingly large sums from private donors, and although experts predict a small decline this year as the economy falters, giving to educational institutions has increased by an average of 7 percent annually for the past 20 years.

Schools that have been able to raise the most are, like Hopkins, major research institutions, especially those with medical centers and grateful patients who provide a pool of potential donors beyond alumni.

According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, about 75 universities have set or achieved fundraising campaign goals of more than $1 billion, including the University of Virginia, which is in the midst of a $3 billion campaign.

Hopkins received more than 700,000 gifts from more than a quarter-million donors. The gifts averaged more than $5,000 each.

They included $150 million for cancer research and patient care from Jones Apparel Group founder Sidney Kimmel and $100 million from an anonymous donor to support a new children's hospital. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated a total of more than $157 million for research to fight childhood pneumonia and tuberculosis in AIDS patients in developing countries and for reproductive health initiatives.

The discovery on the transmission of malaria, announced last week, "certainly would not have happened at the pace it is happening" without a $100 million gift from an anonymous donor in 2006, said Michael C. Eicher, vice president for development and alumni relations. The donation established a malaria research institute, funding a decade-long effort to create a vaccine and drugs aimed at eliminating the disease.

As Hopkins was bringing in donations, the investment return on its endowment was down about 20 percent, to $2.4 billion, in the last six months of 2008.

When Hopkins's next president, Ronald J. Daniels, steps in to replace longtime leader William R. Brody this spring, university leaders will begin setting new goals -- and planning the next campaign.

© 2009 The Washington Post Company