The University of Florida’s $1.5 billion capital campaign, Florida Tomorrow, addresses the fundraising needs of UF’s 16 colleges and its many units and research centers. Ann Braun, associate dean for development and alumni affairs at the College of Medicine, provides an update on the Campaign for Medicine as well as her thoughts as a veteran fundraiser for academic medicine.
Florida Tomorrow is a place that provides hope and possibilities for so many. It is a place where patients come from all over the southeast for specialized, cutting-edge compassionate care and where aspiring physicians and scientists receive excellent medical education.
Florida Tomorrow Campaign for Medicine officially began in July 2005 and is slated for completion in 2012. Our goal of $315 is challenging but it also provides an opportunity for friends of the college to generously invest in the future of medicine at the University of Florida.
As associate dean for development and alumni affairs at the College of Medicine, I am fortunate to pass through our halls every day and talk with talented faculty, dedicated staff and inspiring students. And as I approach my third year here, I continue to be deeply moved by the extraordinary talent and the commitment from individuals and teams of people who work so hard to care for patients, advance medical research and train future physicians.
I’m also very aware that academic medicine presents many challenges, and that it takes a unified awareness of our mission for us to remain focused on making the difference that we have been called to make. More than ever, private support of academic medicine plays a significant role due to shrinking traditional sources of funding such as clinical revenues and state support and increased competition for fewer research dollars from the NIH and other foundations. I think most people would be surprised to learn that the College of Medicine receives as little as 6 to 8 percent of its annual budget from the state of Florida.
We need to increase levels of private support to enable our medical school to continue to attract the best medical faculty and to equip them with the most sophisticated technology, thereby setting the standard for medical schools in the nation. I am excited to report that with figures dating back to the beginning of the campaign in 2005, the Florida Tomorrow Campaign for Medicine has just surpassed the $100 million mark toward our $315 million goal, with commitments of support for scholarships, young investigators, faculty, and more than 400 donors providing the seed money for a new education building.
Faculty and staff have stepped up in unprecedented fashion with nearly 400 of you committing close to $3 million. I’m frequently asked by donors whether we believe in the College of Medicine enough to donate our own money, and it’s very powerful to share that our faculty and staff have contributed like never before in support of our core missions.
When each of us is focused on our own job and area of expertise, we sometimes lose sight of the significance of the work we’re doing as a whole. I am lucky because I have the opportunity to visit with all departments including the faculty on the Jacksonville campus to get a glimpse of the bigger picture. I personally am fueled with a real belief that medicine is a noble calling – that training the next generation of doctors and taking care of patients with the most acute conditions is an extraordinary way to serve and contribute to our society. I myself have pledged support for the Campaign for Medicine and invite each of you who hasn’t done so to join us. And I also ask you to partner with us as we share our message and our work with those who have an interest in supporting the College of Medicine.