Columbia Campaign

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The Columbia Campaign, launched in September 2006, was Columbia's most recent fundraising campaign.[1] It was the fourth capital campaign in Columbia's history, and the first not to bear the "Campaign for Columbia" title. When it was announced, its initial target of $4 billion was the largest capital campaign ever mounted by an American university, and has since only been eclipsed by one, a $4.3bn campaign announced by Stanford. In 2011, the Office of Alumni and Development announced a new goal of $5bn, to be completed in 2013.

By December 31, 2013, the Campaign had surpassed its extended goal of $5bn by raising a final total of $6,116,289,534.


The campaign launched with $1.6 billion already pledged during the "silent phase" of the campaign. The campaign's launch had been anticipated since the University's 250th anniversary celebrations in 2003-2004.

Kick-off gifts included $48 million from trustee Gerry Lenfest '58LAW for a "challenge" matching fund for the endowment of faculty chairs in the arts and sciences and law, and $29 million from Robert Yik-Fong Tam '50BUS and his sister Wun Tsun Tam for faculty positions and the Committee on Global Thought.


The University employed a variety of outreach tools to woo alumni donations, using a variety of media. The 2005 creation of the Columbia Alumni Association as an umbrella organization to reach out to alumni across the spectrum of CU's various schools was one of the centerpiece strategies of the campaign.

Subsequent donations

In April 2007 the University announced a $400 million pledge from John Kluge '37CC, all of it slated for financial aid.[2] It is the largest gift in University history, the fourth largest received by any university, and the largest financial aid gift in the country. In 2012, Gerry Lenfest announced a $30 million gift to help fund the new School of the Arts building in Manhattanville.


The Campaign features many sub-campaigns, including the $865 million Campaign for Undergraduate Education, the $100 million Columbia Campaign for Athletics, both formally launched in the fall of 2007, and the Second Century Campaign at the School of Journalism, launched in 2006 with the goal of raising $100 million in time for the school's 100th anniversary in 2012. There is also a Campaign for Engineering, which has an overall goal of $125 million.

In October 2012, Giving Day took place as a fundraising drive for the annual funds of the sixteen schools within the University. Since all dollars raised as part of that effort (over $6.8 million in one day) counted toward each school's annual fund, they were also included in the Campaign total. Giving Day was repeated again in 2013, raising over $7.5 million from nearly 10,000 donors.

Progress to goal

In 2011, the Office of Alumni and Development announced that the Campaign had surpassed its $4 billion goal ahead of schedule, and that the Campaign would continue on with the new goal of $5 billion by December 2013. In 2012, the Campaign again surpassed its goal early, with more than $5 billion raised almost 18 months ahead of schedule. It was announced the goal would not be extended further, but that the campaign would continue until December 2013. The final total raised was $6,116,289,534.

This progress moved Columbia up to consistently ranking in the top five universities for annual fundraising in the nation.

External links


Preceded by
Campaign for Columbia (1990)
University Capital Campaign 
Succeeded by