Read the news release about the 2020 awards >
Sustained Excellence Awards
Claremont McKenna College
George Mason University
Phillips Exeter Academy
The Madeira School
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Santa Barbara Foundation
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
University of Texas at Austin
University of Virginia
Walla Walla University
Woodberry Forest School
Air Force Academy Foundation
California State University, East Bay
Central Michigan University
Genesee Community College
Honolulu Community College
Jefferson Community and Technical College
Kapiolani Community College
Lewis & Clark College
Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
North Shore Community College
Nova Southeastern University
San Francisco State University
Southwest Minnesota State University
Trinity Valley Community College
Tulsa Community College
University of Delaware
University of Mount Union
University of Utah
William Jewell College
Winners by Category
From the Judges (Higher Education)
When reviewing the data from the CASE VSE Survey, we look for much more than the total amount of funds raised. Breadth and depth matters. We also look for institutions that “punch above their weight”--institutions that rank lower in their categories like budgets and enrollment, but who rank higher in terms of funds raised in various categories, such as funds raised per FTE enrollment.
We were delighted to see a growing number of institutions across all higher education sectors being recognized for the first time this year. To us, that speaks to additional support for advancement at institutions, along with the recognition that development can help to address pressing revenue needs. Recipients came from across the United States, with the West Coast continuing to impress for the sheer number of recipients across the board.
Among the trends we noticed in this year’s judging was an increase in support from donor advised funds. While this has been a trend for several years now, this year's numbers were particularly impressive. Most of the categories were extremely competitive. That was especially true in the community college sector, where the number of institutions that made the preliminary cut was high enough that we divided the group into two categories for the first time ever.
We also noted that alumni participation, with a few notable exceptions, continues to decline, yet the amount of money given by alumni continues to increase. This trend has held steady for the last several years, leading us to believe it is time to revisit how much weight we give to alumni participation in determining high-performing programs.
Finally, the numbers across all sectors were very strong this year, leaving us to ponder how significantly the impact of COVID-19 will curb such great momentum.
From the Judges (Independent Schools)
As we look back to school year 2019-2020, the importance of philanthropy for the financial sustainability of our schools was for the most part dependent on highly productive and efficient advancement programs. Fundraising success is measured by many variables, not only by which schools raise the most money. Today, as we are recognizing those schools who have evidenced exceptional advancement programs, we are reminded of the importance of the community that supports our schools.
The CASE Voluntary Support of Education survey provides many different data points for measuring a school’s fundraising program over a three-year period. Thank you to all of the schools that submit data, providing useful comparisons for improving all independent school development programs.
Again, this year we recognize schools that showed not just measurable growth in dollars raised, but also breadth and depth in terms of diversity of sources from which funds were raised. Among the many variables, we looked carefully at results on a per-student basis. Each cohort (by endowment size) was very competitive.
Among the trends we noticed in this year’s judging was a general increase in gifts for current operations and gifts for endowment from parents and alumni across all categories. We also noted that alumni participation and the number of alumni donors continues to decline, although the amount of money given by alumni continues to increase. This trend has held steady for the last several years, and requires examination.
In showcasing these best-of-the-best programs, CASE helps its members identify schools that excel in their outcomes, and do so efficiently so that we can all learn from their best practices. We encourage and highly recommend that you submit your own school’s information next year and spend some time in the CASE VSE Data Miner to dive into details about what makes these programs worthy of recognition. As we move forward and hopefully through this pandemic with the attention needed to create more equitable communities, we should turn to each other more often for sharing ideas and new practices.