Community philanthropy at the University of South Florida exceeded $151 million in fiscal year 2021-22, the most generous donation in the institution’s nearly 70-year history. This is the fourth consecutive year that annual charitable giving to the university has exceeded $100 million, breaking the previous record set in 2015.
“Our university has a history of setting ambitious goals and exceeding expectations,” said USF President Rhea Law. “I would like to express my deep gratitude to the thousands of USF donors who made this remarkable, record-breaking achievement possible. It shows how our community is investing in USF like never before, which will only help fuel our upward trend and result in even greater impact on our students, faculty, regions and beyond.”
The $151.8 million raised last year represents donations from more than 34,000 donors, including over 6,300 new donors who made their first donations this year.
“We are deeply grateful for the continued generosity of our USF family,” said Jay Stroman, CEO of the USF Foundation. “The growing support of our Bulls community is changing the course of our university across all of our colleges and campuses. These investments in USF empower our faculty, physicians, scientists and staff to better serve our immensely talented and diverse student body, increase their success and advance research efforts with a global reach.”
USF supporters helped drive several strategic initiatives for the university, including:
- In September, USF broke ground on the Indoor Performance Facility on the Tampa campus. Private donations totaling more than $23 million from 515 donors funded the project, which will provide an indoor space for male and female athletes to practice and train.
- Efforts to build a new stadium on the Tampa campus have generated a great deal of excitement throughout the community:
- Carol and Frank Morsani made a generous $5 million lead gift in March to inspire others to join them in support of the transformation project.
- Penny and Jeff Vinik joined the effort, raising $5 million in April.
- The Morsanis also pledged an additional $7 million to endow the Morsani Scholars, which will offer scholarships to USF students; Creation of an endowed professorship for geriatrics; and a directorship and professorship focused on ethical leadership in business.
- USF Health’s donations from grateful patients increased 40 percent from the previous fiscal year to $5.6 million in 2022. Patient philanthropy primarily supported research across a range of medical specialties and conditions. In December, the late Timothy Ubben donated $5 million to establish the Ubben Family Center for Pulmonary Fibrosis.
- Longtime donors Kate Tiedemann and Ellen Cotton donated more than $14 million to transform fintech education at the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance. Fintech, short for “financial technology,” aims to improve traditional methods of delivering financial services to simplify financial transactions and make them more accessible, and often affordable, for consumers and businesses.
- The Bellini Center for Talent Development opened its doors in March. Arnold F. “Arnie” and Lauren Bellini provided $10.6 million to establish the center at the Muma College of Business. The Bellini Center will work to increase employment for USF graduates by filling the Tampa Bay corporate talent pipeline with employees prepared to meet their needs through a more than three-year certification program.
- In November, the university announced a $1 million gift from Reliance Medical Centers to support innovative programs focused on geriatric health care in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences and USF Health.
- USF hosted a successful birthday celebration for its beloved mascot, Rocky, by hosting Giving Week from April 4-8. During the week, the university received gifts from nearly 5,000 donors who supported 198 funds benefiting charitable causes across USF campuses.
“It brings me great joy to see how philanthropic support has shaped my alma mater over the years,” said Jose Valiente, executive chairman of the USF Foundation. “By donating to USF, donors help more and more students thrive, ultimately strengthening Tampa Bay and the wider community. The continued generosity of USF donors will continue to unlock the limitless potential of this great university.”
Donors continued their unwavering scholarship support for students, with fiscal 2022 raising more than $16 million for new and existing scholarships, a 45 percent increase from the previous year. Connie and Tony Leung, founders of Sanwa Food Group, donated $1 million to establish the Leung Family Scholarships. The donation supports graduating high school students in southern Hillsborough County, including the Ruskin, Apollo Beach and Wimauma areas. Beginning in the 2022-2023 academic year, the scholarship will have at least four recipients with annual awards of $10,000 each.
In particular, the Latino Scholarship Program celebrated its 30th anniversary. Building on years of philanthropic giving to USF, Richard Gonzmart built Richard and Melanie Gonzmart’s Latino Scholarship to increase his support for deserving students in need. In addition, the Black Leadership Network, founded five years ago, received its first gift from an alumnus and former grantee. Tonetho Lewis’ donation shows how private philanthropy can create a cycle of giving as beneficiaries become philanthropists, sometimes early in their careers.
“It feels amazing to be able to contribute to a greater whole and potentially help change someone’s life forever — like people have done with me,” said Lewis, who graduated last year.