Pirate Nation invests gifts, talents to advance ECU’s mission
Donors contributed nearly $100 million in philanthropic support for East Carolina University in 2022-23, making it the most successful fiscal year fundraising endeavor of the comprehensive Pursue Gold campaign and setting the bar as the most robust fundraising year in the university’s history.
The annual effort raised $95.7 million, surpassing last year’s mark of $69.8 million. The fundraising total includes $40.5 million for main campus priorities, $28.6 million for ECU Athletics and $26.3 million for health sciences priorities. Pirate Nation also saw significant year-over-year increases in alumni program participation and in support of college advisory boards and advancement councils, all of which assist the university through advocacy, connection and outreach.
“One of the ways we fuel our strategic priorities is through the generosity of philanthropic donors,” Chancellor Philip Rogers said. “Our people are our greatest asset. Our people are the ones who help this institution thrive and help us achieve our mission each and every day.”
The year included a milestone moment for the university, with the announcement of an unprecedented $30 million commitment from Robert Gentry Brinkley ’78 and Amy Woods Brinkley and Lewis Patrick Lane III ’67 and Lynn Lewis Lane.
The families have made the largest combined commitment in the university’s history and are advancing a bold and mission-aligned commitment to drive student success and academic excellence at ECU. The EC Scholars program has been renamed the Brinkley-Lane Scholars program to honor their investment.
Additionally, notable fiscal year giving included:
- $5 million from Van ’85 and Jennifer Isley of Raleigh to establish a multipurpose indoor practice facility as part of the Pirates Unite Campaign for Comprehensive Excellence. Their gift is the largest one-time philanthropic gift in ECU Athletics and Pirate Club history.
- $3.2 million from the United Health Foundation to expand the North Carolina Statewide Telepsychiatry Program (NC-STeP) within the ECU Center for Telepsychiatry and e-Behavioral Health.
- $2.5 million in planned gifts from Cheryl and John Oliver in support of the Coastal Studies Institute. Their gifts will provide housing for students studying at CSI and provide resources for other needs that may arise at ECU’s Outer Banks campus. The Olivers are hopeful their gift will encourage others to support CSI.
- $333,000 given to establish the James G. Jones Distinguished Professorship in the Department of Family Medicine in the ECU Brody School of Medicine.
- A first-time $100,000 grant from the Hearst Foundations supporting the ECU School of Dental Medicine’s Hyde County Outreach Clinic.
- More than 2,300 Pirates contributed during the seventh Pirate Nation Gives on March 22, surpassing expectations and raising more than $11.8 million in support of university priorities.
“These gifts show the breadth and depth of the incredible work happening across our university and the willingness of others to invest in our future,” Rogers said. “The collective impact of gifts of both time and talent cannot be overstated. To all our donors and advocates in Pirate Nation, I say thank you.”
The university also has advanced its priorities through alumni outreach, health care collaboration and growth in support for ECU Athletics.
Pirate Nation welcomed alumni and friends back to events on campus and at gatherings across the country. The alumni association reestablished 16 chapters this year, an increase from three active chapters in 2021. Attendance nearly doubled at the association’s 104 events, engaging 4,810 alumni and friends.
ECU Health Foundation
An agreement between the ECU Medical & Health Sciences Foundation and Vidant Health Foundation aligned the two organizations to operate as one philanthropic arm supporting ECU Health and ECU’s health sciences. The effort aims to boost philanthropic support for ECU Health, the ECU schools and colleges of the health sciences and Laupus Library.
Uniting for athletics
ECU Athletics’ Pirates Unite Campaign to raise $60 million is the most ambitious fundraising effort in Pirate Club history. Commitments from Van and Jennifer Isley, Harold and Amanda Varner, the Hinton families, and Becky and Parker Overton are among the gifts that have helped raise $28.6 million for ECU Athletics.
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 during the campaign will keep us constantly leading and ready to advance what’s possible. Learn more at pursuegold.ecu.edu.