Harvard Raises $639M Despite Tough Economy

UPDATED: Oct. 13, 2011, 2:52 a.m.

Despite a shaky economy, Harvard raised a record setting $639 million during the 2011 fiscal year, the third-largest amount ever accrued in the University’s history.

Tamara E. Rogers ’74, vice president for alumni affairs and development, attributed this rise in financially uncertain times to the loyalty of Harvard’s donors.

“We are fortunate to have a dedicated community of alumni and friends who are unwavering in their support of the University,” Rogers said in the release. “They are loyal, they are passionate, and they are

generous, and, for that, we are profoundly grateful.”


This year’s fundraising haul marks a 7 percent increase from the previous fiscal year’s $597 million. Current-use gifts also rose 12 percent from $248 million in fiscal year 2010 to $277 million in 2011. Current-use gifts are gifts for a specific purpose to be used during the year they were received.

But despite this rise, 2011 numbers have yet to return to pre-financial crisis totals. The University collected $651 million in the 2008 fiscal year.

In fiscal year 2008, current-use gifts amounted to $236 million, and in 2009 they totaled at $291 million.

This general rise in fundraising may reflect the University’s increased efforts to reach out to donors as it prepares for its upcoming multi-billion dollar capital campaign. Harvard’s capital campaign is currently in the “quiet phase,” the period during which the University solicits large gifts from donors prior to making the campaign public.

Rogers said that though the University has the capital campaign in mind, Harvard has yet to set priorities or a timeline for the campaign.

This reference to an “eventual” capital campaign marks the first time that Alumni Affairs and Development has publicly acknowledged the existence of the campaign in an official statement.

“We continue to make progress in the planning process, which includes academic and financial planning and prioritization,” Rogers said in a press release.

Several of Harvard’s individual schools—the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, the Harvard Business School, and the Graduate School of Education, saw increased fundraising totals as well.

During fiscal year 2011, which ended June 30 of this year, the Business School and FAS both received major gifts from alumni. The Business School received $50 million dollars from Ratan N. Tata for an executive education building, and FAS received $10 million dollars for the Humanities Center from Anand G. Mahindra ’77.

During fiscal year 2011, Yale raised $862 million in new gifts and commitments. However, this number should be attributed in part to Yale’s capital campaign which will end on Sept. 17 after five years and a total of almost $3.9 billion raised.

—Staff writer Tara W. Merrigan can be reached at

—Staff writer Zoe A. Y. Weinberg can be reached at