We're Better Together: Philanthropic Milestones, 9-6-2016

Dear colleagues,

I wrote to you in June about my plan to share stories across the campus demonstrating the collective impact of our efforts, specifically citing telehealth. This month, I'd like to tell you about truly remarkable results we're seeing from the nexus of philanthropy and the life-changing work of our faculty. 

Donors and other benefactors are increasingly inspired by the work of our faculty and students and, in turn, have been making remarkably generous contributions toward the long-term success of the CU Anschutz Medical Campus. For the second year in a row, we have witnessed record-breaking philanthropy. In FY 16, CU Anschutz received $203 million in philanthropic and private support. Of that amount, $125 million came through pure philanthropy (our goal was $90 million) and $78 million through the Office of Grants and Contracts in private support. Over the past two years, we have garnered a record $370 million in total philanthropic and private support. 

These fundraising successes are directly tied to the work of our faculty as they engage in innovative research, clinical care and world-class education. I believe they are also related to our new approach to advancement, led by Vice Chancellor for Advancement Scott Arthur and a team that is clearly doing things right. In 2011, President Benson and the four CU campuses took a long, hard look at the CU system's fundraising operation, and decided to realign our development organizational structure. In 2013, fundraising staff who had previously worked for the system-wide CU Foundation moved to the campuses, providing, for the first time, clear and direct reporting lines from fundraisers to academic leadership. The new CU Anschutz Office of Advancement realized it could be more successful by shifting from a conventional model in which development officers worked within silos to a more theme-based, benefactor-centric approach to philanthropy that harnesses the power of faculty and excellence in patient care. Our focus, beautifully described here by Associate Vice Chancellor for Development Jim Hodge at a TEDx Talk, is on purpose, impact and significance, rather than needs.

Changing the Philanthropic Conversation

The Office of Advancement builds both internal and external relationships that match the passions of our benefactors with the life-changing work of our faculty. This encourages strong partnerships with faculty and focuses on the joy of giving. Advancement has also assembled a top-notch communications team that tells our stories in the most compelling way, focusing on our top talent, innovative research, education and clinical care. 

Philanthropy has played a major role in our development as an academic medical campus. Much of that support has come from major gifts of $3 million to $5 million dollars. You can see this in the number of generous donors that have supported individual endowed chairs. But to elevate ourselves among other premier academic medical campuses, we have tasked our Office of Advancement with encouraging transformational gifts of more than $5 million that will make a significant impact in health care. 

Consider, for example, our work in the area of mental and behavioral health. Our efforts, accelerated through recent transformational gifts, are complementing statewide initiatives and resulting in significant changes in the field. These gifts include $10 million from The Anschutz Foundation earlier this year to establish the National Behavioral Health Innovation Center and $10 million from the Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation in 2015 to enhance patient care, research and education at the Johnson Depression Center. These programs will augment statewide initiatives including the State Innovation Model, a federally funded program aimed at exploring improvements in the state's health system, including mental health; the creation of a state suicide prevention board, and Gov. John Hickenlooper's award of $18 million for crisis centers and a statewide crisis line. Together, these efforts can fundamentally alter mental and behavioral health care in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain region.

Another example of how we're working better together through collaborative projects that attract transformative gifts is the Ocular Stem Cell and Regeneration Program, started with $10 million in gifts last year. This strategic collaboration between the Department of Ophthalmology, the Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine and the UCHealth Eye Center is enhancing age-related macular degeneration research and care, and will rapidly advance the national and international frontier of knowledge about vision loss and the potential of restoring sight. 

These gifts and many others are possible because of the Office of Advancement's work in helping benefactors recognize that CU Anschutz has the right people engaged in compelling work that touches lives. 

Working Together

In addition to working across campus departments, we are also partnering with both Children's Hospital Colorado and University of Colorado Hospital to achieve our transformational philanthropy goals. We're communicating and collaborating on fundraising better than ever and the hospitals have made substantial commitments toward increasingly productive partnerships. 

While our focus will be on where we go from here, it's just as important to reflect on what we've accomplished. I'd like to thank the Office of Advancement for their remarkable accomplishments over the past two years. With their help, we're transforming philanthropy and changing the trajectory of health care within the walls of the university, throughout the institutions on campus, and beyond. We are better together. 


Don Elliman


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