A photo of four women stading next to eachother holding pom poms, a sign that says \"I heart VCU,\" and paper rodney the ram masks.
(Development and Alumni Relations)

$271 million in record-breaking donor support for VCU changes lives of students, patients

This achievement marks the third consecutive year of unprecedented donor support and the biggest fundraising year in the history of the university and its health system.

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Donors showed record support for Virginia Commonwealth University in fiscal year 2023, giving $271,053,061, the university announced today. This achievement marks the third consecutive year of unprecedented donor support and the biggest fundraising year in the history of the university and its health system.

A total of 23,069 donors, including 7,716 first-time donors, supported VCU and VCU Health from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023.

“We’re so grateful to donors for this record level of support,” said Michael Rao, Ph.D., president of VCU and VCU Health. “As a public research university, part of our mission is access — ensuring that as many students as possible have access to higher education. This year’s record-breaking donations tell us that people understand and support what we’re doing, truly transforming lives and our communities.”


This historic success was made possible by many notable achievements and milestones throughout the fiscal year.

Five of VCU’s colleges, schools and units set annual fundraising records in fiscal year 2023:

  • VCU Massey Cancer Center: $88 million
  • VCU School of the Arts: $60.3 million
  • VCU College of Engineering: $28.7 million
  • VCU School of Nursing: $16.6 million
  • VCU College of Humanities and Sciences: $4.5 million

Massey’s total included a commitment from the Bristol Myers Squibb Foundation to establish the Robert A. Winn Diversity in Clinical Trials Award Program. In partnership with the American Association for Cancer Research and Gilead Sciences Inc., the national program aims to transform the clinical research landscape to increase diversity in clinical trials.

Donors gave more than $61 million in support of VCU’s nationally ranked arts programs, including gifts to the VCU School of the Arts and the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU. In May, CoStar Group, a leading provider of online real estate marketplaces, information and analytics in the commercial and residential property markets, announced a partnership with VCU to support the development of its planned Arts and Innovation Academic Building through an $18 million commitment. Expected to open in early 2027, the tentatively named CoStar Center for Arts and Innovation will consolidate VCU’s nationally recognized School of the Arts, ranked No. 4  in the country among graduate programs, and innovation programs under one roof for the first time.

The second annual Giving Day in April created engagement and excitement from the VCU community, raising $7.8 million, an increase of 190% over the amount raised during the inaugural VCU Giving Day in 2022. The community rose to meet matching and challenge opportunities to support VCU students, faculty and staff, patients and the Richmond community. With nearly 70 university causes and initiatives to choose from, donors could make a gift to the cause(s) they care about most.

“I am continually inspired by the generosity and dedication of our alumni and supporters,” says Jay E. Davenport, vice president of Development and Alumni Relations. “The commitment of our donors, the engagement of our alumni and volunteers, and the dedicated work of our faculty and staff have produced unprecedented support for the mission we all share: to transform the lives of our students and patients. This remarkable year of philanthropic success helps to establish a strong foundation to build upon as we prepare for the university’s next comprehensive campaign.”


Donor support is essential to creating opportunities for all who learn, teach, heal and thrive on VCU’s campuses and in the communities it serves.

Of the $271 million raised in gifts and pledges this fiscal year, donors directed $125.8 million to support research; $117.3 million to support students and programs; $15.1 million to support the priorities of deans and directors in colleges, schools and units; and $9.2 million to support facilities. These funds help fulfill VCU and VCU Health’s commitments to student success, patient-centered care, research, innovation and more under the Quest 2028: One VCU Together We Transform strategic plan.

“VCU puts the needs of students and patients first, and donors help us do that by supporting student success and good patient outcomes,” Rao said. “From helping us take on research that solves societal problems, to supporting students in need, to advancing the breakthroughs that lead to better patient care, charitable giving helps drive the vital work we do.”