Butler University made significant strides in pursuit of its Butler Beyond strategic direction during the 2020-21 fiscal year, thanks to major philanthropic investments totaling more than $28 million from 16,224 individual, corporate, and foundation donors. Propelled by a nearly $10 million grant in March 2021 from Lilly Endowment, Inc., the largest single donation during the past year, the University has now raised more than $214 million toward its $250 million goal for Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University.

“Through a very challenging year, Butler University donors allowed us to remain focused on the best interests of our students through their significant philanthropic support,” says Vice President for University Advancement Jonathan Purvis. “As we approach the conclusion of our Butler Beyond comprehensive fundraising campaign on May 31, 2022, the Butler community is driving our mission forward. I am grateful for all who have invested in our vision through their incredible generosity.”

While COVID-19 posed a number of challenges to University life during the 2020-21 year, philanthropic support sustained students and campus programs hit hardest by the economic effects of the pandemic. Donors gave more than $3.2 million to student scholarships, including seven newly established scholarships, which were augmented by an additional $10 million in financial aid committed by the University to students last year in response to the unforeseen economic hardships caused by the pandemic. 

In support of Butler Athletics, 1,088 donors collectively contributed more than $1.8 million to the Bulldogs Forever initiative. This initiative provided critical support to Butler student-athletes whose athletic seasons were cancelled or modified and went toward offsetting a significant budget shortfall caused by loss of ticket and other revenue. 

Generous support from Butler’s corporate and foundation partners allowed the University to remain focused on the future despite the present challenges caused by COVID-19. These strategic community partnerships are expanding learning opportunities for Butler students and members of the community through new programs and services that were funded and initiated during the past year. 

For example, a new student financial literacy training program called FinancialEdu launched in January through a partnership with Elements Financial, Butler’s Credit Union. A $1 million grant from the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation provided funding for a renovation of Clowes Memorial Hall, which is currently underway this summer and will improve the guest experience for patrons of the Butler Arts & Events Center as performances resume this fall. 

The University received two grants from Lilly Endowment through its initiative, Charting the Future for Indiana College and Universities.  A $2.5 million grant in October 2020 provided funding for the creation of the new Butler Beyond Transformation Lab. A nearly $10 million Lilly Endowment grant made in March 2021 is supporting the Division of Professional Studies, a new approach to help meet the evolving needs of adult learners and employers, and the Indiana Education Venture Network, both of which enable the University to innovate and expand its mission.

Of particular note, donors made significant contributions during the past year toward the University’s two critical infrastructure projects, which remain a top funding priority for the remainder of the Butler Beyond campaign. Donors have now contributed more than $30.2 million toward the University’s $42 million fundraising goal for the Sciences Expansion and Renovation project, and more than $22.1 million toward a $40 million goal for the new business and innovation building that houses the Andre B. Lacy School of Business and strategic initiatives including the newly formed Division of Professional Studies and Butler Beyond Transformation Lab. 

These and other significant infrastructure updates and renovations are enhancing the University’s ability to prepare students for the workforce of tomorrow through facilities that mimic the collaborative workplaces of top companies around the globe.

The University’s annual Day of Giving in February once again became the most successful in school history, setting a number of new records including:

  • A University record of $614,710 raised, a 27 percent increase from the previous year
  • A University record of 1,803 gifts received, a 15 percent increase from the previous year

Other University milestones in the 2020-21 fiscal year included:

  • 719 members of Butler’s leadership annual giving society, The President’s Club, collectively committed more than $9.25 million to academic, scholarship, and student-life initiatives
  • 34 donors reached lifetime cumulative giving to Butler University of $100,000 or more, and will be inducted into the Carillon Society this fall
  • Two new donor families will be inducted into the Cornerstone Society after reaching $1 million or more in cumulative lifetime giving to Butler during the past year
  • Fairview Heritage Society donors committed more than $5.7 million in estate/planned gifts this year
  • The Butler Giving Circle awarded its inaugural community partnership grant and grew to include 52 members this year

Butler Beyond: The Campaign for Butler University is the University’s largest-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign with a goal of $250 million to support student access and success, innovations in teaching and learning, and community partnerships.