Office of the President

September 21, 2020

Closing a campaign that truly was boundless

Ana Mari Cauce

For the past decade, our great public University has been engaged in a historic philanthropic campaign, Be Boundless — For Washington, For the World. Over the course of this effort, more than half a million people have given for the greater good through the University of Washington. They have invested in people and possibility — through scholarships, in world-class teaching and research facilities, in the arts, in groundbreaking scientific and medical research, and countless other examples of learning and discovery that are advancing the public good. As we bring this historic campaign to a close, I am grateful for the faith that so many people have placed in our institution to help realize a vision for a better world.

When we dubbed the campaign “Be Boundless — For Washington, For the World,” we envisioned bringing together a large and diverse coalition of people and organizations who shared an understanding of what the UW can do at a scale and level of excellence unlike any other organization. That coalition exceeded our aspirations. Of the more than 500,000 Be Boundless supporters, 70% of individuals were not UW alumni and more than 296,000 were first-time donors. The average gift was $723 and 66% of donors made contributions under $500. Countless other supporters gave their time, energy and ideas. It was a true testament of the power of “together” and how every effort, every gift can matter. Taken altogether, the power of what we have achieved as a community, raising more than $6.3 billion over ten years, is both overwhelming and inspiring.

Our supporters’ giving enriches students’ educational experiences, funds scholarships, supports research and capital projects, and benefits programs that serve communities in Washington and beyond. Donors have bolstered the opportunities that define the Husky Experience, funded more than 52,000 scholarships and fellowships, and made a transformational investment in supporting underrepresented students through the Office of Minority Affairs & Diversity. They fueled major milestones such as the launch of the Center for an Informed Public and the establishment of the Brotman Baty Institute for Precision Medicine. Their gifts supported the opening of wǝɫǝbʔaltxʷ – Intellectual House and the construction of the Bill & Melinda Gates Center at the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering, which doubled capacity for the UW’s most in-demand major. And our donors have provided support for our student-athletes and helped bring renowned scientists and scholars to our faculty.

It’s important to recognize that virtually all of the gifts made during the campaign were designated by donors for specific purposes and cannot be used for other spending needs. This is especially crucial as we — along with so many in our state and nation — are grappling with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Many gifts support long-term investments in health, education, discovery and innovation to support a healthier, more equitable and sustainable world. But they can’t be used to replace state funding or tuition in achieving our core educational mission, or to provide operational support to many of the UW’s self-sustaining units, such as our hospitals, housing and food services, and athletics, that have been hardest hit by the pandemic.

Although the Be Boundless campaign has come to a close, its lasting and invaluable legacy is the extraordinary community of supporters who are invested in our University and its impact. I am especially grateful to our campaign general chairs Susan Brotman, Bob Flowers, Micki Flowers, Jodi Green, Mike Halperin and Janet Smith, and honorary chairs Mimi and Bill Gates Sr., whose recent passing we are mourning. Likewise, we remember with great love and gratitude our late friends Jeff Brotman and Orin Smith who were so influential in defining and launching this effort. Thanks to them and every person who took part in the Be Boundless campaign, the UW is primed to teach, discover, innovate, promote health, save lives and drive transformative change far into the future.