$1 Billion Campaign for UAB reaches halfway mark

More than 74,000 donors have contributed $500 million so far in UAB's largest-ever philanthropic campaign.

The University of Alabama at Birmingham’s Campaign for UAB: Give Something, Change Everything is halfway to its ambitious goal of raising $1 billion.

More than 74,000 donors have contributed, allowing the institution to surpass the $500 million mark in its largest-ever philanthropic campaign. Gifts support diverse initiatives across the institution that advance faculty excellence, support research innovation and economic development, enrich the student experience, develop programmatic support, and enhance UAB’s facilities.

“If you look at the history of UAB, a fairly young institution, it’s really been a great story of partnerships within the university community but also with the community outside of UAB in metropolitan Birmingham, in Alabama and beyond,” said UAB President Ray L. Watts. “The scope and impact of this campaign will extend far beyond our campus.”

UAB is also in the midst of its most comprehensive campuswide strategic planning process, which continues to establish and advance institutional priorities that guide thoughtful investment.

“Established priorities allow us to confidently invest most heavily in the programs and people that will best advance our mission — where the most impactful achievements and benefits will be realized for the greater good,” Watts said. “These priorities give a targeted purpose to each philanthropic gift.”

The funds raised thus far, including several transformational gifts, are enabling UAB to invest substantially in Campaign and strategic priorities that advance the university’s mission and contribute to a robust economy in Birmingham and Alabama.

“We are now more than halfway through a campaign that will help lead the way for the next exciting chapter in UAB’s leadership in medicine and academics,” said Michael Warren Jr., president and CEO of Children’s of Alabama and co-chair of The Campaign for UAB. “The importance of this campaign cannot be overstated, as its success is directly tied to the Birmingham region’s future, and vice versa. As CEO of Children’s of Alabama, I know firsthand that success for the UAB campaign will also advance our two institutions’ collaborative efforts to provide care for ill and injured children in Alabama and throughout the Southeast.”

Many gifts to the Campaign are bolstering Birmingham’s thriving technology-transfer programs by offering diverse, multidisciplinary programs to attract promising students and researchers. In addition to their names adorning the UAB Collat School of Business and many contributions across UAB, the $25 million gift from Charles and Patsy Collat is expanding scholarship opportunities for high-potential business students.

“The primary drivers of growth and prosperity in every community are big ideas, smart people, educational excellence, high-quality research and development, and a culture supporting entrepreneurial business formation,” said Johnny Johns, president and CEO of Protective Life Corp and co-chair of The Campaign for UAB. “Our city and state are blessed to enjoy all of that — in abundance — at UAB. I am confident that the fruits of this capital campaign, by unlocking the incredible resources of UAB, will nourish economic and cultural development in our city and state for decades to come.”

If you look at the history of UAB, it’s really been a great story of partnerships within the university community but also with the community outside of UAB in metropolitan Birmingham, in Alabama and beyond. The scope and impact of this campaign will extend far beyond our campus.

-UAB President Ray L. Watts

The Campaign is funding tremendous strides in innovative research and the recruitment of top faculty, who will keep UAB competitive among the nation’s elite academic medical centers.

“UAB is one of the largest and most productive academic medical centers in the country, and we want to remain on the leading edge of science and medicine,” said Selwyn M. Vickers, M.D., FACS, senior vice president for Medicine and dean of the UAB School of Medicine. “By realizing the goals of our AMC21 Strategic Plan, we will become the preferred academic medical center of the 21st century, pushing the envelope in strategic areas such as genomics and personalized medicine and, in turn, providing unparalleled care to patients throughout our state and region.”

In addition to improved health and quality of life, Campaign gifts are also supporting the artistic vitality of the campus and community. The Alys Stephens Center for the Performing Arts anchors a burgeoning Cultural Arts Corridor, including the new Abroms-Engel Institute for the Visual Arts, and is taking quality arts education into the community through its innovative outreach programs ArtPlay and ArtReach.

“We are now fostering in Birmingham the caliber of arts opportunities and venues that we used to associate strictly with bigger metro areas nationally and globally,” said Theresa Bruno, co-chair of The Campaign for UAB. “The Campaign is furthering our mission of, not only drawing the community in to experience world-class performing and visual arts, but reaching out to the community with outstanding arts education that can be truly transformational, especially for our young people.”

The public phase of the Campaign launched in October 2013 and will run through 2018. Online contributions since the Campaign launch have surpassed total online gifts from the entire previous fiscal year.

“Reaching this halfway point is a tremendous milestone, and not just for UAB and the programs and people this campaign supports,” said UAB Vice President Shirley Salloway Kahn. “Together we are transforming the future of Birmingham and Alabama — creating new treatments and potential cures for disease, exciting new avenues for the arts, academic programs that inspire and equip students for 21st century careers, and the innovations and startup companies that make us very competitive in a global, knowledge-based economy.”