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UVa Law School hits $400M fundraising target more than a year ahead of schedule

The University of Virginia School of Law announced its capital campaign has reached its fundraising goal of $400 million more than a year ahead of schedule.

The achievement comes on the heels of the university’s overall “Honor the Future” campaign hitting its $5 billion target well before that campaign comes to an end on June 30, 2025.

An $11 million gift from an anonymous donor pushed UVa Law School over the edge, hitting its target and then some. Its fundraising total now sits at $401 million, making it the third-largest fundraising effort in the history of any law school in the country. The New York University School of Law holds the record for raising $540 million over the course of an eight-year capital campaign that ended in 2021, beating Harvard Law School that now sits in second place for its $476 million campaign.

“It’s a great indication of how special Virginia is that when the anonymous donor learned that we were $10 million away from reaching our goal, [the donor] said ‘I’ll take care of that,’” campaign co-Chair J. Warren Gorrell said in a statement. “That sort of stand-up attitude is incredible and a great tribute to our law school, and is consistent with the approach that so many of our alumni have taken.”

Honorary campaign co-chairs and alumni Bruce and Martha Karsh kick-started the campaign in July 2016 with a donation that made them the law school’s first $50 million donors.

More than 15,000 donors have contributed to the fund to date, 70% of which are alumni of the law school. More than 27,000 of the gifts have been under $100.

“This milestone is a testament to the deeply felt dedication of our generous alumni, who want to build on their own experiences at the Law School and pass them on to future generations,” the law school’s dean, Risa Goluboff, said in a statement. “We are so thankful for their efforts, the work of the Law School Foundation, and our alumni volunteers in contributing to this landmark moment.”

Jason Wu Trujillo, chief development officer for the Law School Foundation, said the funds will be dedicated to supporting the school’s people by focusing on faculty support, financial aid for students and unrestricted giving.

“We cannot know with certainty what the law school of 100 years from now will need, but it is a safe bet that we will have faculty who need to get paid, students who need financial aid and a dean who needs unrestricted endowment to address the concerns of the day,” Trujillo told The Daily Progress. “These are core functions.”

The school does not have any capital projects in mind for now, as Trujillo said the current 400,000-square-foot law school building is sufficient space for the institution’s 911 students.

Though the fundraising campaign still has 15 months left, the donations are already being put to use. The school’s Mortimer Caplin Public Service Center was able to grant $761,000 to fully fund 167 law students who served in public service roles over the summer of 2022. The funds also allowed for the school to establish more than 125 unrestricted endowments, 225 endowed funds, a dozen professorships as well as a more than 75 scholarship and loan forgiveness funds. All graduates who earn less than $100,000 are now eligible for benefits thanks to the donor support.

Since the campaign commenced almost eight years ago, the law school’s endowment has grown by more than $360 million, reaching $831.4 million as of June 2023.

Source: www.dailyprogress.com

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