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Generosity of Berkeley community advances Light the Way: The Campaign for Berkeley

Campanile with setting sun partially showing.

Keegan Houser

Thanks to a groundswell of support, UC Berkeley raised $879 million from over 65,000 donors in 2020-21 —the second-best fundraising year on record and the highest ever for the number of gifts. During a year of tremendous challenges, this show of support by the university’s diverse community, including parents of Berkeley students, affirmed Berkeley’s strengths on multiple fronts and helped the campus weather the extraordinary challenges of the pandemic.

And with $4.7 billion secured (as of Sept. 20, 2021), the campus has reached the 78 percent mark toward its $6 billion goal in Light the Way: The Campaign for Berkeley.

“It’s not just that donors are giving during a time of widespread need that inspires me; it’s what they’re giving to,” said Chancellor Carol Christ in a message to alumni and donors. “Faculty and graduate students, igniting new lines of discovery and inspiring undergraduates. Research solutions for the environment, democracy, health, and other complex challenges. Scholarships that get undergraduates here, and programs that help them thrive once they arrive. First-rate facilities that seed new collaborations, disciplines, and breakthroughs.

These are just a few gifts from 2020-21 that are lighting the way for Berkeley:

  • Professors Scott Shenker and Ion Stoica made two of three major gifts totaling $75 million to support construction of the Gateway, a visionary new home for the Division of Computing, Data Science, and Society. Stoica’s gift will also create two new faculty positions in computer science and— help Berkeley grow its faculty, the size of which has not kept pace with the increase in undergraduates over the last 15 years.
  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation gave a grant to the African American Studies Department to take Black studies research out of the classroom and into the community. As recent events have prompted an awakening to racial justice, this project will organize think tanks, humanities-based research, a public class, and other efforts and introduce these insights into the greater public discourse.
  • Freada Kapor Klein ’74 made a gift that will provide scholarships to students who participate in SEED, an honors program for historically marginalized undergraduate populations majoring in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). The scholarship targets high schoolers who participated in another program Kapor Klein and her husband, Mitch Kapor, created nearly 20 years ago, thus expanding their decades-long commitment to diversifying STEM leaders at Berkeley and in the field.
  • Pioneer Material Precision Tech (PMP Tech) made a commitment to Heathcock Hall, a groundbreaking new building for the College of Chemistry. Named in honor of former dean Clayton Heathcock, the hall’s modern labs and classrooms will enable deep discovery around the development of advanced materials, innovative healthcare, renewable energy, and protecting our food, water, and air.

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