Message from the Vice-Chancellor: public launch of major fundraising campaign

6 May 2013

I am pleased to announce that on Saturday the University publicly announced a major fundraising campaign that will play a critical role in securing our future among Australia's leading universities.

With the public announcement of INSPIRED - the Campaign to support the University of Sydney, we are once again taking the lead among Australian universities in our approach to philanthropy. We embarked on our campaign internally in 2008, and it is the biggest fundraising drive of its kind in Australian higher education to date. We have already raised more than $300 million from 28,000 donors. Over the full life of the campaign we aim to raise $600 million from more than 40,000 supporters.

Australian universities face some extraordinary challenges. In my email of 24 April, I told you about the serious financial implications for the University of planned cuts in federal government funding. These recent announcements follow a decade-long decline in the amount of funding we receive from government as a percentage of overall revenue. It seems highly unlikely the tertiary education sector will see an increase in government financial support in the next decade, whatever the outcome of the forthcoming federal election.

So, if we are to evolve in this challenging environment and deliver successfully the goals we have set ourselves, we need to think creatively about new funding avenues.

Our recent success in attracting philanthropic funding provides a point of optimism amid the depressing public funding environment. We are extremely grateful to the record number of donors for making 2012 the University's second consecutive record-breaking year in funds raised through philanthropy. But what really excites me about their generosity is that it represents a huge vote of confidence in what we do here: our supporters recognise the impact of your work, and want to support our future.

On Saturday we announced an ambitious fundraising target. But we are an ambitious community: we are driven to make a difference. So, I urge you to take pride in our fundraising efforts. Visit the campaign website to explore the stories about our staff and students that inspire our donors. Think how your work could inspire future donors, and contact the Development Office if you would like to discuss how you can get involved. With your support, I am confident we can inspire our donor community to help us achieve our goals.

Yours sincerely

Michael Spence