Reinvention of Philanthropic & Alumni Engagement Pays Off for Pitt, UPMC

For the Division of Philanthropic & Alumni Engagement (PAE), the past year has seen success in a collaborative transformation of fundraising and alumni relations operations—and in advancing relationships with alumni, patients who were treated through UPMC and other friends and contributors.

In fiscal year 2019, PAE led efforts in raising $181.8 million in gifts and commitments for the University and its partnership with UPMC through the health sciences.  

Kris Davitt“I’m really encouraged by this initial success,” said Senior Vice Chancellor for Philanthropic & Alumni Engagement Kris Davitt. “Our work is fully aligned with Pitt’s mission for the University itself and through its partnership with UPMC. Continuing to build our capacity to engage alumni and secure gifts for students, faculty, researchers, coaches and more is critical.”

A total of 43,226 alumni, parents, patients treated through UPMC and other friends and supporters made gifts during the fiscal year—an increase of nearly 10% over the previous year. The gifts will work toward making Pitt more affordable for outstanding students and spur innovation across the institution.

Donors committed a total of $20.6 million for financial aid—a priority for Pitt as it strives to reduce financial barriers for students. 

The University recently established multiple programs to help students pay for their educations. In 2018, PanthersForward accepted 150 graduating seniors into its inaugural cohort. Each student accepted in initiative receives up to $5,000 in federal loan debt relief and connections to a special network of alumni mentors committed to supporting their professional success. Additionally, the Pitt Success Pell Match—the largest restructuring of financial aid in the institution’s nearly 232-year history—launched in February 2019 and matches the federal Pell Grant dollar for dollar for all qualified students. 

Gifts totaling $7 million helped create six new endowed faculty positions. Such positions are critical in the recruitment and retention of outstanding professors.

Another $1.9 million helped undergraduates and graduate students pay for books, lab fees, travel and other educational expenses. 

Davitt noted that gifts of all sizes contributed to success in fiscal 2019 and demonstrated the collective power of supporters to make a big difference.

The third annual Pitt Day of Giving, held on Feb. 28, helped drive an increase in annual support. A record 6,346 donors—including faculty and staff—contributed $4.2 million—much of that coming in a 24-hour sprint. Gifts came from all 50 states and 17 different countries. The next Day of Giving is scheduled for Feb. 25, 2020.

Learn more about PAE and its work as the hub for development and alumni engagement efforts.