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Donors deliver fourth highest amount

Donors gave John Brown University $17.4 million this past year, despite a lingering economic recession.

The 2011-2012 fiscal year ended in June with the fourth highest amount given ever.

“It really is remarkable,” said April Moreton, director of development. “Often schools go way down in donations after a campaign ends.”

Jim Krall, vice president of university advancement, thinks there are several reasons why this is the case.

The University has very few outstanding pledges left from the Keeping Faith campaign, which ended a year early at $118 million in 2011.

“Many schools will have up to $5 million left in outstanding pledges, but JBU only has a half of a million. It is a huge blessing that most of our pledges have already been fulfilled during the campaign season,” Krall said. “Secondly, we have very generous supporters that continue to donate to the school.”

Moreton agrees. “We have donors interested in several of our big projects, like endowed scholarships or building projects, and they want to support JBU’s mission,” she said.

“People give to a strong mission and a good place,” said Krall. “That’s why people continue to support the students at JBU.”

To receive such a high amount after finishing a campaign is remarkable. To do the same task in the middle of a recession is even more so.

“We have asked ourselves about [the donations during the recession] as well,” Moreton said. “It is completely God’s blessing on JBU.”

“We’re more aware of what families face to send a child to a private school,” she continued. “Although our enrollment hasn’t been affected, we realize some parents are getting laid off. So we have increased our emphasis on scholarships.”

Krall said in 2008, when the recession first hit, the advancement team made an intentional decision to continue to ask for gifts because they believed the University is a great place.

“We did, however, delay publicizing the Keeping the Faith campaign for another year due to the economy,” he explained.

The campaign was publically announced in 2009 rather than 2008, as the original plan stated.

Looking back over the past four years though, Krall said he is grateful the team continued to ask for donations because people did continue to give.

“Our area of northwest Arkansas was not as affected as other parts of the country. I’m sure that helped a lot,” he added. “While I’m sure that the recession had some effect on the University, it was not as much as one would think, due to generous donors and our region.”

Some of this year’s $17.4 million will go toward building projects, such as construction or maintenance costs of the Great Hall or North Slope apartments, and some will go toward scholarship funds.

The highest amount donated in one year was $23.5 million during the 2010-2011 fiscal year, which completed the Keeping Faith campaign a year early.