The University of Montana received unprecedented private support in fiscal year 2014, with donations totaling over 50 million dollars! Associate Vice President for Marketing and Communications at UM Beth Hammock said a total of 13,598 individuals, businesses and foundations made gifts in fiscal year 2014, a jump from 12,775 donors in fiscal year 2013.

"We have just tallied up all the numbers for our fiscal year that ended on June 30 and we have had a record fundraising year," Hammock said. "We raised $53.7 million. Our goal was actually $25 million."

Hammock said there was a big push for scholarships at the University of Montana this year. UM launched an initiative last July called “Investing in Student Success” which Hammock said is a big reason for the increase of donations.

"There will be $1 million more in additional money for scholarships," Hammock said. "When we say we raised $53.7 million, some of that is endowed which means that we invest the money and then we use a portion of that every year for scholarships and so that's helping us give another extra $1 million next year. It's going to really help students at the University of Montana! We're really grateful that 14,000 people made gifts!"

The gifts came in all sizes, from $20 student donations to multimillion dollar pledges from alumni. The number of gifts breaks down like this: 276 gifts of $10,000 or more; 1,536 gifts of $1,000 to $9,999; and 11,786 gifts of less than $1,000.

In July 2013, the University of Montana Foundation and UM set out to raise an extra $45 million for students over a three-year period. After one year, the “Investing in Student Success” initiative has received $22 million in support.

"We are an innovative university focused on providing outstanding education, and our donors are responding in record amounts and record numbers to the direction we are headed," UM President Royce Engstrom said. "I am proud of the work of our Foundation, our faculty, our staff and our students, and I deeply appreciate the dedication of our donors."

The Foundation provided more than $4 million in scholarship support to UM in fiscal year 2014. The scholarships will go to students from every walk of life, from students with limited financial means to exceptionally talented students.

"Supporters of the University, both alumni and friends, have been extremely generous this year," UM Foundation Board of Trustees chair Michael McDonough said. "They recognize the importance of higher education and the impact it has on people’s lives, and they are confident their gifts to UM will have a positive impact. We are grateful for each of these gifts, as collectively they will help support tens of thousands of current and future students."