by Susan White
UNC School of Social Work has more reasons to celebrate. For the first time in the School’s 100+ year history, more than $10 million in private gifts, pledges and grants were received during a single fiscal year. The last time the School set a similar historic fundraising record was in 2009, when $4.7 million in donations were received.
This year’s historic record amount also exceeded the School’s 2022 fundraising total by 254%. A $3 million anonymous gift – the largest individual gift in the School’s history — was among the critical donations the School recently secured.
“For so many years, UNC School of Social Work was a hidden gem on Carolina’s campus,” said Kandace Farrar, the School’s associate dean for advancement. “Our latest fundraising success demonstrates the secret is out. We are no longer Carolina’s hidden gem — we are a point of pride, and the best is yet to come.”
The needed funding will help the School continue to support student scholarships, recruit and retain promising junior faculty, and address emerging needs within social work practice and research.
The anonymous donation, which was received from a local philanthropist and alum, is targeted toward the development of a new student fellows program. The program will launch this fall and focus on integrating the School’s micro and macro education and training to help strengthen the leadership skills of future social workers. The goal: to advance the business, administrative and legislative advocacy skills of the School’s MSW students so that they are best prepared to develop better practices and influence policies to transform child welfare and adolescent mental health in the state of North Carolina.
Although thrilled with the latest fundraising success, there is still much work left to be done, Farrar added. Ultimately, private support is crucial for supporting the School’s efforts to advance as the No. 1 ranked school of social work in the country, she said.
“We have come so far and yet, we still have a long way to go,” Farrar said. “We want every student to receive a scholarship. We want every student to receive a stipend to support their practicums. We need every tenure-track faculty member to have an early-career award to prevent our competitors from poaching them. We want to be able to bring in top speakers for conferences and continuing education. We want to enhance our ability to work in communities. We need funds to fully support every doctoral student. And our School still needs a name.
“Yes, the list is long, but I’m not daunted. I’m encouraged.”