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Rutgers Fundraising: A billion here, a billion there

The most recent major fundraising campaign by Rutgers is over. And we're talking real money.

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Around On the Banks, I've tended to be the money guy.  I like to look at the numbers, I like to play with the charts and tables.  And over the last year plus, I've written pieces about Field Hockey fundraising for its locker room, the huge athletic subsidy last year, and more recently the series on athletics' ceiling and money.  So when it comes to numbers, fundraising, and facilities, I'm all over it.

The other day, Rutgers announced the totals from its 7½ year Our Rutgers, Our Future campaign.  The campaign's goal was a billion dollars.  At the close of the campaign on December 31, 2014, it had exceeded its goal, with a grand total of $1,037,056,700.

Following up on that, one of our regular readers and commenters, raritan17, put up a Fan Post on the billion dollar result.  But having played with these numbers so much, something didn't seem quite right.  So I dug a little bit.  raritan17 wrote:

That included an 85% increase from 2013 for the athletic department. Over $4.5 million was raised since Rutgers joined the B1G.

The second sentence seemed true, because, as you'll read below, we were only a member of the B1G for six months and that is a key time frame to remember.  But in my mind, there was something a little off.

The article on the campaign highlighted Rutgers' accomplishments:  "An 85 percent surge in athletics giving over the past six months."  In the last six months. In 2013, Rutgers athletics had raised $6,131,982 in contributions.  That number is based on a Rutgers fiscal year that ends on June 30.  The campaign was commenting on a six month period ending December 31.  In effect, they were talking apples and oranges.  An 85% increase over the 2013 number would mean a total of $11.28 M.  But nowhere does it say that, with the 2014 fiscal year ending last June 30.  What it did report was an 85% increase in the last six months of 2014 over 2013's last six months.  And those numbers work: "Athletic donations grew from $4.5 million over the final six months of 2013 to $8.4 million over final six months of 2014."  But that's actually a part of the 2015 fiscal year that hasn't ended yet.

As for the total athletic monies raised in the campaign, again from the article: "The school's entrance into the Big Ten was expected to have an impact in fundraising, and that materialized, with $101.7 million in athletics giving, thanks to a surge in gifts over the past six months."  But that is the total over 7½ years.  That would appear to be an average of $11.5 M per year, a number that Rutgers athletics never realized in any recent year, but could soon.  So there had to be additional gifts and grants that haven't been delineated as yet to account for the $100 M.

Nevin Kessler, the President of the Rutgers Foundation "attributed the spike to a series of factors, including higher seat donations from football and basketball season ticker holders, an increase in the number of endowed scholarships for athletes and growth in gifts to support the football, men's basketball and women's lacrosse programs."

Without question, entering the Big Ten is making a difference, but that has only been - officially - since last July, and maybe extending back into 2012 with the announcement.  The Our Rutgers, Out Future campaign, at least the silent portion, began in the middle of 2007.  So for five years, there was no Big Ten to assist in fundraising.

I'm excited that the fundraising, including endowing athletic scholarships, went so well.  But there needs to be a formal announcement from Athletics to detail the revenue and where it went.  And this year's fiscal year, the first season in the Big Ten, has yet to be completed.  So, again, I'll wait to hear the final numbers for FY 15.