IGNITE campaign total nears $774 million, exceeding goal ahead of schedule
IGNITE: The Campaign for UIC, the most ambitious fundraising effort in the university’s 163-year history, has exceeded its $750 million goal more than five months ahead of schedule. While the campaign’s official end is June 30, 2022, a total of almost $774 million has already been committed as of April 1.
“The monumental milestone of reaching our goal early is a grand statement by our alumni, donors and friends who believe in the transformational work and impact our students and faculty are demonstrating in and beyond UIC,” UIC Chancellor Michael Amiridis said.
Every gift to IGNITE directedly supports UIC’s long-standing mission to provide the broadest access to the highest levels of intellectual excellence. So far in the campaign, UIC approximates donors gave $261.3 million to drive discovery that will deliver solutions to the world’s crucial challenges and promote social equity. Student success attracted $114.7 million from supporters. Empowering faculty drew $57.8 million, helping recruit and retain prominent scholars who inspire bright minds, train engaged citizens and drive courageous inquiry. And, $33.8 million came in to connect to the communities we serve and expand access to comprehensive health care for all Illinois populations. A crucial $207.1 million was donated without restrictions, allowing UIC to put it toward pressing and emerging needs.
Approximately 137,000 gifts — large and small — from 50,605 donors have made a tremendous impact on the lives of UIC students, faculty, caregivers and the communities they serve. In fact, 36,376 donors proved that collectively small donations add up — 123,018 gifts of $1,000 and under totaled more than $17.6 million.
In addition, 119 gifts were seven figures and above, while 137 donors gave $1 million or more cumulatively over the campaign. The largest campaign gift, and the largest in UIC history, came from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. Her $40 million contribution created a Student Success Fund to provide life-changing support for first-generation and low-income students attending UIC and will address timely graduation, living-learning communities, internships and food insecurity among students.
UIC alumna Denise Oleske MPH ’74, PhD ’83 was among the campaign’s donors. She endowed a scholarship in the UIC School of Public Health.
“In 50 years, I want the students to look back on this moment and know we were committed to their success,” she said.
Kate Wojcikiewicz, a junior in psychology from Lockport, Illinois, received a scholarship during the IGNITE campaign.
“I’m so grateful to benefit from an endowed scholarship here at UIC,” said Wojcikiewicz, who also is a member of the cross country and track and field teams. “This generosity takes away the financial stress so that I can truly focus on being the best student and athlete that I can be.”
UIC’s alumni, friends, faculty members and even students demonstrated a growing commitment to and pride and investment in UIC over the course of the IGNITE Campaign. On #GivingTuesday in 2017, the year IGNITE was launched, 688 supporters gave almost $118,000. Those numbers grew consistently throughout the campaign until, in 2021, 1,828 donors contributed enough to push UIC just over the $1 million mark. We also saw the two highest fiscal-year fundraising totals during IGNITE, with $126.65 million contributed in 2020 and $125.08 million in 2021.
“UIC is a university on the move. It was true in 2017 when we launched the IGNITE campaign, and it is true more so today as we celebrate how far we’ve come in the past five years,” Amiridis said. “Giving to IGNITE has allowed us to converge access and excellence, creating opportunity for talented students of all backgrounds. With supporters’ help, we empowered prominent faculty members and caregivers who expanded purpose-built, innovative programs and served our communities through some of the most challenging times in recent history. I am confident UIC will continue its impressive trajectory well into the future thanks to the generosity of all who participated in the IGNITE campaign.”
“I am deeply grateful to UIC’s faculty, staff and leadership for their tireless efforts and ongoing work to surpass the boldest fundraising goal in the university’s history and make UIC’s mission a reality,” said Tom Wamsley, vice chancellor for advancement. “Each and every gift from our community — no matter the size — expressed dedication, commitment and vision while redefining student success, empowering faculty, driving discovery and connecting to our communities. The impact of this record-breaking campaign will be seen and felt for decades to come.”
While we celebrate the record-breaking success of the IGNITE Campaign, UIC remains dedicated to many ongoing fundraising priorities that support its mission. With the help of its generous donors, the College of Medicine will continue fulfilling its mission to train the next generation of compassionate, impactful and diverse physicians and scientists; to deliver accessible, impassioned clinical care to all patients and reduce health inequities; and to invest in transformational medical research and clinical care. The College of Pharmacy will work closely with benefactors over the next several years to invest in and build the new Drug Discovery and Cancer Research Pavilion — a state-of-the-art research facility that will bring together industry, academia and community partners to discover and develop new pharmaceutical treatments targeting emerging critical health issues, and to prepare a skilled workforce to do the same.
For as long as climate change and violence remain ongoing areas of concern, the School of Public Health will lead efforts to combat them. Their long-term priorities include funding prevention initiatives for both while raising support for the Population Health Analytics Metrics and Evaluation Center where data will help drive public health decisions and initiatives. Supporting future public health leaders with scholarships, travel awards and an enhanced curriculum remains an ongoing priority as well.
At UIC Business, a focus remains on raising the college’s scholarly profile by funding renowned faculty and investing in scholarships and innovative programming to improve student success. The Institute for Leadership and Professional Development is one of the college’s hallmark programs remains a fundraising priority and serves as a hub for leadership research, teaching and developing student competency.
Gifts to the university, including donations for college- or unit-specific programs, can be made online.