April 16, 7:57 p.m.
Of the 32 U.S. universities in the middle of capital campaigns of at least $1 billion, Penn gained the most in February with $26.1 million in new gifts and pledges.
Though this is not the most Penn has received in a single month - that record belongs to June 2007, when the school took in $129 million just before the Making History capital campaign entered its public fundraising phase - the number is strong given the current economy.
"It's not the highest we've raised in a month, but what's notable given the tough times is that Penn alumni are staying engaged and staying connected with their alma mater," said Penn President Amy Gutmann.
As of the end of February, the University had raised $2.3 of the $3.5 billion, seven-year Making History campaign goal it seeks to reach by 2012.
The campaign goal for this fiscal year, which ends June 30, is $450 million in new commitments - receipts and pledges to donate in future - and $350 million in receipts. Penn is well ahead of pace to meet the latter aim, though hitting the former will be a challenge given its ambitiousness and the current economy, according to Vice President of Development John Zeller.
And while monthly fundraising targets are significant milestones, they frequently depend on chance issues of timing from one month to the next, added Zeller. Whether a donation is counted in January or February, for example, could depend on a difference of a single day. Instead, Penn pays less attention to monthly numbers and focuses on annual performance.
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