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University of Colorado surpasses $1.5 billion Creating Futures campaign milestone

University of Colorado President Bruce Benson has announced the completion of CU’s fourth-ever fundraising campaign, Creating Futures, with more than $1.521 billion in private support raised to support people, places and programs on CU’s four campuses.

Propelling CU to campaign success were more than 158,000 donors who made more than 403,000 gifts to CU from the official July 1, 2006 start of Creating Futures through Sept. 30, 2013, when campaign counting concluded. Creating Futures has generated more private support for CU than any other campaign in the university’s 137-year history. 

“Donors have made CU a better place for students, faculty, alumni, and friends,” said Bruce Benson (’64), who with his wife, Marcy, has served as chair of the campaign. “Today, we celebrate the success of the Creating Futures campaign and say ‘thank you’ to all the donors who have fueled that success.” 

CU has benefited from transformative support during the campaign from donors including: 

  • More than $57 million in gifts since 2006 (and more than $120 million lifetime) from the Anschutz Foundation—the campaign’s largest donor—that fueled substantial growth of the Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora. These Anschutz Foundation gifts comprised a healthy proportion of more than $132 million given toward land and buildings during Creating Futures.
  • A $10 million commitment from Jake Jabs that enables the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship at the CU Denver Business School to vastly increase the scope of its Business Plan competition and related entrepreneurship programs. Jabs’ gift was a portion of more than $364 million in supports from individual during Creating Futures.
  • More than $45 million in gifts toward biotechnology research and building support at CU-Boulder, whose new BioFrontiers Institute harnesses an interdisciplinary academic dream team to tackle big challenges in areas such as human health.\
  • $5.5 million from an anonymous donor to support scholarships at UCCS, the largest cash gift in that campus’s history, and part of more than $101 million in gifts toward scholarships and financial aid during the campaign.

Also during the Creating Futures campaign period, more than $240 million was given toward endowments that support CU with perpetual funding streams for generations to come. As of Sept. 30, CU held $937.4 million in endowments—a 57 percent increase since the start of the campaign.

“Throughout Creating Futures, it has been an honor to work with my volunteer peers who have worked to serve this great university and inspire donor support,” said Carl (“Spike”) Eklund (‘71), chair of the board of directors. “The University of Colorado is an integral contributor to the health and welfare of citizens throughout and beyond this state. Today, we celebrate its fundamental role as a core Colorado institution.”

In addition to the campaign leadership of Bruce and Marcy Benson, CU’s four campuses each benefited from outstanding volunteer campaign leadership on each campus, including Jean (’64) and Jack (’64, ‘70) Thompson at CU-Boulder, Nancy (’87) and Carl (“Spike”) Eklund (’71) on the Anschutz Medical Campus, Laura (’94) and Dave (’82) Baker on the Denver campus, and Mary and Ed Osborne on the UCCS campus.

The strong private support seen during Creating Futures, though it coincided with the worst economic downturn in 75 years, represents a formidable vote of confidence by alumni, friends, corporations, and foundations toward the University of Colorado.

But with continuing threats to state funding for the university and escalating needs in areas ranging from financial aid to physical infrastructure, increased fundraising will be a critical and continuing imperative for CU. To this end, the university recently revamped its advancement operations to more directly align its fundraising structure with the university.

“As long as society has burning questions that remain to be answered, new frontiers that remain to be explored, we must continue to push hard for greater capacity in everything we do,” said CU’s Vice President of Advancement Kelly Cronin, who came to the university in August. “Today we celebrate the passions of our donors and the efforts of our faculty and staff, and look ahead to a future in which generous donors continue to better equip CU to educate, innovate, and foster positive change.”


Creating Futures Campaign Facts

July 1, 2006 – September 30, 2013 

Total dollars raised: $1.521 billion (exceeding goal of $1.5 billion)

  • CU Anschutz: $772.4 million
  • CU-Boulder: $574.8 million
  • CU Denver: $84.3 million
  • UCCS: $67.1 million
  • Other support (CU system, real estate foundation, etc.): $22.4 million


403,999 gifts received from 158,573 donors

  • Nearly 94,000 of these had never given to CU before
  • 63,147 alumni made gifts
  • Donors hailed from all 50 states and 79 countries


Total contributed by:

  • Alumni and Friends: $364.3 million
    • Alumni: $152.6 million
    • CU faculty and staff: $35.6 million
  • Corporations: $574.9 million
  • Foundations: $409.5 million
  • Other private organizations: $172.3 million



  • $101.7 million given to financial aid, and 448 new scholarship funds created (40% increase since 2006)
  • $83.4 million given toward faculty chairs, and 46 new endowed faculty chair funds created (40% more than in 2006)
  • $132.5 million given toward land and buildings, and 76 new funds created for capital projects
  • 538 new endowments created altogether


CU Endowments total, as of July 1, 2007: $595.5 million
CU Endowments total, as of Sept. 30, 2013: $937.5 million (57.4% increase)