It’s been a year. Though the fiscal period from July 2019 to June 2020 started with great confidence, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic inaugurated a period of anxiety and upheaval. But this year also offered the entire UW community everywhere — faculty, staff, students, alumni, donors, and friends — an opportunity to show their Badger spirit. Thank you for continuing to move the UW forward. Read on to see how your involvement, support, and gifts have helped the university weather one of its most challenging periods.A message from Mike Knetter
Although the final months of 2019–20 were dominated by the arrival of COVID-19 and a sudden recession, UW–Madison’s alumni and friends contributed and pledged $454,235,082 to the university. Private gifts and grants now make up 18 percent of the university’s budget. State tax dollars make up 14 percent.
Those who contributed to UW–Madison in 2019–20 made an average of 1.3 donations each, for a total of 109,951 gifts. Donors came from all walks of life and from across the country and around the globe — the average size of gifts this year was $4,131.25.
The UW Health COVID-19 Fund has seen great success since it was created in March 2020. Over the last year, donor contributions provided more than 12,625 meals to frontline workers at Madison hospitals and 254 guest nights at the Dejope Residence Hall for medical staff. More than 100,000 PPE items were donated, including masks, gloves, and gowns, and over 1,000 employee assistance grants were given to eligible UW Health staff who make less than $18 per hour.
During 2020, 780 donors contributed to the Student Emergency Fund, helping to raise more than $225,000. This enabled the UW Office of Student Financial Aid to assist more than 9,000 students with emergency grants — the average grant given was $1,100. The first of its kind in the Big Ten, this fund provides Badgers with financial support for food, rent, electric bills, medications, loss of income, technology, school supplies, and traveling home.
The UW Now Livestream events offer valuable and vital information to the public. Since launching, 37 videos have been created with an overall total of 122,202 views. The first UW Now Livestream episode aired on March 31, 2020, garnering 214 likes, 355 live chat comments, 2,258 live viewers, and a total of 12,614 views.
WFAA’s weekly COVID-19 newsletter keeps alumni, donors, and friends informed about how the Badger community is working to address the pandemic. At the end of March 2020, WFAA began sending the newsletter, COVID-19 UW Research and Impact. In the last 13 weeks of FY2020, WFAA shared 135 stories about the UW.
In July 2020, Chancellor Rebecca Blank issued a call to address racial disparities by making the university a more welcoming and inclusive environment. In partnership with campus leaders, WFAA launched the Raimey-Noland Campaign in honor of the UW’s first known female and male African American graduates, Mabel Watson Raimey 1918 and William Smith Noland 1875. The campaign will raise funds to support diversity among students, faculty, and staff, and to aid research into social and racial justice.
An urgent email from UW Health sent on March 16, 2020, desperately seeking 1,000 face shields was answered, and a mere nine days later, all 1,000 were delivered. Leveraging the strengths of the university, Badger Shield was efficiently crafted, prototyped, and tested by gifted engineers at Makerspace, resulting in an open-source design ready to be manufactured on a large scale. More than 20 million Badger Shields have been produced since last spring with thousands of others across the country still using the Makerspace design.
Patients Treated in Clinical Trials
When COVID-19 hit, UW–Madison researchers began working around the clock to help find vaccines and treatments. UW Health took on several studies, including treatments using convalescent plasma and monoclonal antibodies, and the vaccine candidate developed by Astra-Zeneca. Nearly 600 people participated among the three studies.
Fall of 2020 saw the largest class of new students to receive Bucky’s Tuition Promise. Up 9 percent from the previous year, 923 students, hailing from 63 of the state’s 72 counties, are benefitting from free tuition provided to those whose family’s annual household adjusted income is $60,000 or less. Of the 923 students, 54 percent are first generation, 755 are freshmen, and 168 are transfer students. This pledge, now in its third year, is helping one in five of the university’s new undergraduates from Wisconsin.
Freshmen from Underrepresented Backgrounds
The university’s focused diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are succeeding. The number of underrepresented undergraduate students of color on campus has grown over the last decade, and the number of faculty of color has increased from 17 to 23 percent. The retention rate for underrepresented domestic students of color is the highest it’s ever been at 95.9 percent. And the freshman class of 2020 included 989 underrepresented domestic students of color, which is up 19.8 percent and represents 13.5 percent of the freshman class.