Baylor Raises $1.5 Billion, Concluding History-making Give Light Campaign

Most successful comprehensive fundraising campaign in Baylor University history exceeds initial $1.1 billion goal by $400 million

June 5, 2024

Contact: Lori Fogleman, Baylor University Media and Public Relations, 254-709-5959
Follow us on X (Twitter): @BaylorUMedia

WACO, Texas (June 5, 2024) – Baylor University’s Give Light comprehensive philanthropic campaign has raised a historic $1.5 billion, an achievement that shattered its initial $1.1 billion goal and concluded Give Light as the most successful comprehensive fundraising campaign in Baylor’s 179-year history, the University announced today. 

The University also reported $166 million in total fundraising for fiscal year 2024, which ended May 31, 2024, making it one of the top five highest fundraising years in Baylor’s history. All five of those top fundraising years have come during the Give Light campaign, fueling Baylor’s rise as a preeminent Christian research university.

“I am grateful for the more than 100,000 members of our Baylor community who have given generously through the Give Light campaign to help ensure Baylor University continues to have a distinct position and voice in higher education,” Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., said. “The world needs a Baylor – this unifying truth is resoundingly echoed through the generosity of our Baylor Family. Together, we have answered the call of support from this institution, and together we will continue to build this bright future so the world will see Christ through the impact of Baylor University.”

Colorful confetti on a green screen celebrating $1.5 billion raised in the Give Light Campaign
Baylor President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D., celebrates the historic $1.5 billion given to the Give Light campaign with Baylor Family members. (Matthew Minard/Baylor University)

More than 101,000 alumni, parents, friends and institutions have given to support all areas of the University, catapulting Baylor past its original $1.1 billion goal. Spanning 10 years, the Give Light campaign connected the Baylor Family’s generosity with the growth priorities and needs of the institution. Fundraising impact those priority areas included:

  • Endowment: $625 million pledged and given, resulting in the establishment of 873 endowed scholarships, 330 endowed funds and 48 endowed faculty positions
  • Expendable or Current Gifts: More than $600 million
  • Capital Projects: $285 million pledged and given toward capital improvements.

The Give Light campaign’s donors represent an exciting blend of alumni, parents, foundations and institutions. Baylor alumni represent 54.8% of giving to Give Light, with 10.4% representing friends of the University and parents joining efforts at 9% of giving. Institutions, grant-awarding foundations and other corporate gifts and matches represent another 25.8% of giving.

Baylor publicly launched the Give Light campaign on Nov. 1, 2018, with the expressed purpose of undergirding Illuminate, Baylor’s strategic plan. In December 2021, Baylor earned designation as an R1 research institution – three years earlier than projected – by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. With the launch of the public phase of Give Light, the University celebrated the success of a silent phase that propelled the campaign to nearly half its goal. Fundraising during the silent phase began with the establishment in January 2014 of five-year goals connected to the strategic vision Pro Futuris.

There were many significant, milestone gifts throughout the course of the Give Light campaign, including the largest current gift in the University’s 179-year history. On May 4, 2019, Baylor announced a $100 million gift from Paul and Alejandra Foster of El Paso. The gift built on the University’s historic strengths and provided a transformational investment in new areas of teaching, research and service. A significant portion of the $100 million gift created the Foster Academic Challenge that increased the number of endowed faculty chairs and provided the lead investment in the Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion, the spectacular new home for Baylor’s nationally ranked Men’s and Women’s Basketball programs. The Foster Pavilion opened in January 2024.

Endowment growth

Give Light underscored the need for Baylor to grow the institution’s endowment — the donor-funded resources which provide annual income from their investment to fund scholarships, faculty support and more. The Baylor Family’s incredible response to Baylor’s call for endowment support resulted in the University surpassing its $500 million goal by well over $100 million. These endowed resources funded endowed chairs, scholarships, research funds and more across all 11 Schools and Colleges, supporting Baylor Bears for generations to come.

No other place was this impact more apparent than in the University’s increase in endowed faculty positions. Prior to the Give Light campaign, the University held five endowed faculty chairs funded at $3 million or more that support the research needs as well as salary needs of a position. At Give Light’s conclusion, the University now counts 28 endowed chairs. Initiatives such as the Foster Academic Challenge and the Illuminate Chair Matching Program spurred endowment interest through matching funds that inspired donors to invest in endowment. In total, 48 endowed faculty positions have been created at Baylor to recruit and retain leading faculty throughout the University.

Scholarship support continues to be a priority within the Baylor Family, and the University’s students saw 873 endowed scholarships created through the Give Light campaign. Baylor alumni, parents and friends rallied around incentives to support students, such as the Trailblazer Scholars Program, a scholarship program that provides leadership and service opportunities for participating students through Baylor’s Department of Multicultural Affairs. The Hord Scholarship Challenge also spurred the Baylor Family to support merit-based scholarships for students.

Current gifts meet immediate needs 

Different from endowment, which provide spendable interest from a held, saved corpus, expendable funds provide current dollars that can be used immediately for the needs of the University. The Give Light campaign saw Baylor donors far exceed the $300 million goal for expendable funds, providing immediate-use resourcing for priorities ranging from research and mission trips to emergency funds for students in crisis.

Of the $600 million given and pledged as current funds to the University, more than $101 million supported the research activities of Baylor’s faculty, staff and students. Received in the form of grants, private gifts and corporate support, research funding directly supports the R1 priorities of the University’s Schools and Colleges.

Baylor also saw more than $456 million given to Student Life and Baylor Athletics. That supporting extended from Baylor Bear Foundation scholarships to the Bear Habitat program to the Paul L. Foster Success Center.

Capital improvements

In the past 10 years, Baylor University has seen unprecedented growth and change to the institution’s physical footprint, with more than $285 million given to support capital projects through the Give Light campaign. 

In Waco, the Baylor Family has witnessed the construction of new buildings to welcome visitors and fans alike and seen the renovation of historical spaces to benefit our students’ educational experiences. In that same time, the Louise Herrington School of Nursing moved into a new building in Dallas, and George W. Truett Theological Seminary opened campuses in Houston and San Antonio.

The Give Light campaign’s public launch in 2018 began with the announcement of a lead gift from the late Mark Hurd and his wife, Paula Hurd, which provided compelling momentum as well as the name for the remarkable Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center. Exciting announcements followed, with the Baylor Family seeing a new home for Baylor’s Men’s and Women’s Basketball programs in the Paul and Alejandra Foster Pavilion and a new home for the Baylor Football program in the Fudge Football Development Center. Baylor also announced the full renovation of the historic Tidwell Bible Building, which now serves as home to the University’s Religion, Sociology and History departments.

Donors also supported the renovation and construction of the Honors Residential College and Draper Academic Building, providing Honors College students an extraordinary on-campus experience, while renovating faculty offices and classrooms, as well.

Read more about the impact of Give Light in Baylor Magazine, from viewing a map of the capital improvements made possible by Give Light, and to the other exciting impacts Give Light has had on the University.

The Give Light campaign also created exciting opportunities to celebrate the many members of the Baylor Family who give generously and faithfully to support the Christian mission of the University. Learn more about their stories and view a timeline of donors impacts throughout the Give Light campaign.

ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY

Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked Research 1 institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 20,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 100 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.