Pirate Nation raises nearly $70 million through gifts and commitments

As East Carolina University works to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s careers, Pirate Nation has gotten on board with the mission, providing the university with a record $69.8 million in philanthropic support during the fiscal year that ended June 30.

“From students and alumni to industry partners, faculty and friends of the university, our donors have stepped up in a big way this year,” said Christopher Dyba, vice chancellor for university advancement and president of the ECU Foundation. “Their support is essential to everything we do at ECU, from student scholarships to research to athletics.”


Students provide consistent support for the university and its programs through their fundraising efforts, such as Kappa Delta’s support of the TEDI BEAR Children’s Advocacy Center. Kaley Smith, vice president of events and programming for the ECU chapter of Kappa Delta, said the sorority focuses its philanthropy efforts on preventing child abuse nationwide, and 80% of the local chapter’s fundraising goes to TEDI BEAR as part of that national effort.

This year, the chapter contributed $5,000, bringing its donations to TEDI BEAR to more than $115,000 since 2009. Funds are raised through events such as a pancake dinner, raffles and a fall carnival, Smith said.

TEDI BEAR is a partnership between the Department of Pediatrics at the Brody School of Medicine and the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital at ECU Health Medical Center. It is the largest children’s advocacy center in North Carolina and provides assessment, treatment, education and prevention for children who may have been victims of child abuse or neglect.

The annual fundraising effort surpassed last year’s mark of $48.3 million and the previous record of $56 million, set in 2016. The fundraising total includes $35.3 million for main campus priorities, $24.5 million for ECU Athletics, and $9.9 million for health sciences priorities.

“The ECU community unified around our philanthropic goals this year in a historic and impressive way,” Chancellor Philip Rogers said. “These investments will have a direct and positive impact as we pursue our mission and strategic directions. Whether it’s $10 or $10,000, every contribution makes a difference for advancing the upward trajectory of our institution.”

In November, ECU launched the public phase of Pursue Gold, the university’s comprehensive campaign to raise $500 million. Campaign fundraising has now surpassed the $400 million mark.

More than 1,500 individual donors pledged a record $8.4 million during Pirate Nation Gives, the university’s annual day of giving, blowing past the event goal of $6.5 million.

Significant individual contributions and pledges during the fiscal year included Tom Arthur, BCBS NC telehealth, Dogwood Health Trust, Diana HaytkoPaul Singleton, the C.D. Spangler Foundation and Burney Warren. Students also contributed to the effort, including the ECU chapter of Kappa Delta, which continued its support of TEDI BEAR Children’s Advocacy.

“On behalf of ECU and Pirate Nation, I want to thank everyone who contributed to the university this year. I am constantly impressed by and proud of your support,” Rogers said. “But our work is not done. I hope you will continue to support ECU throughout the rest of the comprehensive campaign and into the future.”

ECU is in the public phase of the Pursue Gold campaign to raise half a billion dollars. This ambitious effort will create new paths to success for Pirates on campus, across the country and around the world. Donor gifts will keep ECU constantly leading and ready to advance what’s possible. Learn more at

Ebonee Bryant writes a card thanking a donor with help from Mack Craven from the College of Health and Human Performance during Pirate Nation Gives.

Ebonee Bryant writes a card thanking a donor with help from Mack Craven from the College of Health and Human Performance during Pirate Nation Gives.

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