ECU celebrates historic Pursue Gold campaign

More than 30,000 donors answered the call to support East Carolina University and propelled the Pursue Gold campaign to a historic $526.9 million fundraising record.

“The ECU community has demonstrated a willingness to invest in our future in a remarkable way through the Pursue Gold campaign,” Chancellor Philip Rogers said. “Every contribution makes a direct and positive difference in advancing the upward trajectory of our institution. To all our donors and advocates in Pirate Nation, I say thank you.”

In modest and monumental ways, benefactors answered the chancellor’s charge and exceeded the ambitious $500 million goal. Donors contributed nearly $100 million in philanthropic support during 2022-23, making it the most successful fiscal year fundraising endeavor of the campaign and setting the bar as the most robust fundraising year in the university’s history. Year-end gifts added more than $10 million to the campaign’s closing figure.

Efforts to reach the $500 million goal began in earnest in 2017. Due to leadership changes at the university and a pause during the COVID pandemic, the campaign covered more than seven fiscal years of fundraising. In each of those years, new and long-time donors followed the example set by those before them.

“It is clear that ECU alumni, friends and donors are all behind our great university. We had nearly 90 individuals, families and organizations who have committed more than $1 million each during the lifespan of Pursue Gold,” said Christopher Dyba, vice chancellor for University Advancement. “The campaign has served as a momentum builder for the university. Through this effort donors have seen how their gifts are fueling student success, alumni have reconnected with ECU, and the university has rallied support from every corner of Pirate Nation.”

Pirate Nation donors supported, or pledged gifts, to more than 2,250 unique funds across campus priorities through the ECU Foundation, Athletics, ECU Health Foundation and the ECU Alumni Association, which is now integrated into the ECU Foundation.

More than a quarter of the gifts will create opportunities for student success through funding $184 million in merit, need-based and athletic scholarships.

Dyba explained that as a result of the campaign, the foundations have provided $161 million to the university since 2017. On average, each year, the foundations provide $23 million for university needs.

More than $201.6 million in campaign gifts sustain the university’s value and secure ECU’s endowment. Dyba said with more than 1,390 endowed funds, the amount the foundations earn and provide to the university will continue to grow.

“There will be a return on investment for years to come,” he said. “As a result of this campaign, funds provided to the university will further increase as pledges are paid, endowments grow and other commitments are fulfilled. Funds from Pursue Gold will continue to make ECU affordable and accessible to students.”

While the comprehensive campaign has come to an end, fundraising for the university continues. Philanthropic efforts through University Advancement and the ECU Foundation will focus on university needs and student success through merit and needs-based scholarships for admissions and retention. ECU Athletics will continue the Pirates Unite Campaign and the ECU Health Foundation will remain focused on raising philanthropic support for ECU Health, the ECU schools and colleges of the health sciences, and Laupus Library.


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