With end of Levin years, donations expected to rise

University President Richard Levin may only have four and a half months left in office, but when it comes to fundraising, Yale’s leader of 20 years has no intentions of easing up now.

Levin said the University is currently negotiating a number of large donations which he said could raise this year’s fundraising total well above last year’s, though he declined to comment on the precise number or size of the potential gifts. Vice President for Development Joan O’Neill said in an email that the fundraising total for new gifts and pledges is higher now than this time last year, a positive result of what Levin called an informal push for donations at the end of his presidency. Levin and O’Neill said the donations will primarily fund core budget expenses in order to create a comfortable fiscal starting point for President-elect Peter Salovey when he takes office this summer.

“It’s my last year, and I am trying to raise some significant gifts,” Levin said. “The number of significant conversations going on is pretty large, so hopefully we’ll end up with a year that is considerably better than last year.”

The promising number of gifts and possible donations may be a direct result of more assertive fundraising on the parts of Salovey, Yale College Dean Mary Miller and other members of the faculty and development staff, whom Levin and O’Neill said are also meeting with donors. O’Neill told the News in September that she expected this push in light of Levin’s departure.

The collective push has been informal, Levin added, but it is “doing pretty well.”

“The fact that President Levin is retiring and is dedicating significant time to fundraising is one important factor helping this year’s totals,” O’Neill said, also mentioning efforts from other members of the Yale community contributing to fundraising.

Salovey, who will step into the presidency on June 30, is also busy meeting with donors. He said in an email Wednesday that he has been traveling to meet with donors as president-elect over the past two months, and will continue to travel within the United States, Europe and Asia to meet with individuals who have donated to Yale in the past.

The donations the University raises will support existing budget expenses, such as financial aid, existing professorships and unrestricted current use, O’Neill said.

Until the gifts for the core expenses are secured, Levin and others will continue their regular conversations with donors. Levin told the News he had five fundraising meetings scheduled in New York on Wednesday.

“I suspect it will be a very good year,” he added.

According to the most recent Council for Aid to Education report, Yale raised $580 million in donations in 2011, the third-largest college and university total in the country.

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