With Illinois Campaign FAQ

Find answers to frequently asked questions below.

Q: What is a campaign?

A: Universities utilize campaigns, like With Illinois, to identify and raise awareness towards specific priorities for which the institution will focus considerable effort within a designated time period to raise private support through philanthropic giving.


Q: When did the With Illinois campaign begin?

A:  The campaign began with a “silent phase” on July 1, 2014 and publicly announced via an open-invitation community event at State Farm Center on October 18, 2017.


Q: What is the latest With Illinois campaign news?

A: Thanks to the generosity of those passionate about Illinois, we have reached our goal of raising $2.25 billion ahead of the scheduled conclusion of the campaign in 2022. Reaching this milestone during a worldwide pandemic and sooner than anticipated is especially gratifying and provides testimony to the appreciation our alumni have for their Alma Mater while illustrating the confidence our friends have bestowed upon this University and our mission.


Q: Does this mean the campaign is ending early?

A: No.  Our fundraising efforts will continue, and in addition to the respective priorities within each of the colleges and units, the University will remain resolute in our commitment to secure private resources towards Propelling Bright Minds, enabling our faculty to find Solutions to the World’s Challenges, and elevating a University of Distinction at the Heart of Illinois.


Q: When does the With Illinois campaign conclude?

A: The final date has yet to be determined.  However, we anticipate closing this campaign at the end of our fiscal year end (June 30) or calendar end (December 31) in 2022.


Q: What are some of the highlights from the campaign?

A: The success of With Illinois can be attributed to nearly 730,000 gifts of all sizes from over 158,000 donors. One unique aspect of With Illinois has been the first naming of any college at our university! Three colleges have been named during the campaign thanks to transformational donor support: the Gies College of Business, The Grainger College of Engineering, and the Carle Illinois College of Medicine. At the conclusion of the campaign in 2022, we will have a broader opportunity to showcase our many donors and the impact their gifts have made on the university.


Q: What about colleges and units that don’t have alumni who are able to make large contributions?

A: We appreciate and are grateful for every gift, regardless of the amount. The collective efforts of our generous donors have a real impact on our community.  For example, in the fall of 2020, the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs opened a student food pantry to address food insecurity on our campus.  A total of 395 gifts from our donors raised over $38,000, providing more than 3,250 visits for students to the food pantry.


Q: Will this additional $2.25 billion offset the University’s state appropriation reduction or the cost of the pandemic and other challenges the University is facing?

A:  Possibly.  Philanthropic giving has always provided the University the critical margin of excellence required to deliver on our land-grant mission. As a result, private funds can certainly be part of the solution but rarely the only answer.  Moreover, because one-third of our $2.25 billion raised during With Illinois is comprised of deferred gifts (e.g., bequest) or multi-year pledges which will be fulfilled over the coming years, all funds are not immediately available.


Q: I have heard Illinois and other universities speak about the importance of endowments. Why?

A:  Endowments offer perhaps the most influential form of giving to any non-profit.  In an endowment fund, the principal is invested in perpetuity, and only a portion of the investment’s earnings is spent. The rest of the earnings are channeled back into the fund, so that the endowment grows over time.  Thus, creating self-renewing, living legacies that span generations and can help mitigate against other declining sources of revenue to the university.

Approximately one-third of the gifts and commitments made to With Illinois have been allocated towards endowments.  For more information, please visit https://uif.uillinois.edu/endowments.


Q: Why can’t you reallocate donor money to urgent needs for emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic?

A:  The overwhelming majority of our donors will make a gift to the University for a specific purpose (e.g. scholarships). As good stewards of this investment, we must and will always honor donor intent and restrictions placed on any gift we accept. Approximately 99 percent of the University’s documented gifts plus commitments during this campaign have been restricted by the donor either to a particular college or unit and more specifically, allocated by gift agreement towards a defined initiative (e.g., student scholarships, faculty support, capital projects, etc.) and cannot be used for an alternative purpose.

Gifts made to an unrestricted fund, for example, the Chancellor’s Fund, are highly valued and a tremendously powerful form of private support because they allow University leadership to allocate necessary dollars towards the area(s) of greatest need.

For more information, please visit https://uif.uillinois.edu/unrestricted-gifts


Q: Because the With Illinois campaign has been so successful, couldn’t you depend less on state support?

A: The revenue model for public universities continues to evolve and depends on a mix of resources: state and local appropriations, student tuition, private gifts from donors, research grants, and corporate and foundation partnerships, just to name a few. Having a strong land-grant university pays benefits to all citizens of the state of Illinois, especially during challenging times. However,  we cannot appropriately serve the needs of the state (and beyond) without sufficient and sustained government funding.


Q: When the campaign ends, will you stop raising money?

A:  Absolutely not. As the University continues to deliver a world-class education and provides answers to the world’s pressing challenges, continued support from our donors and friends will remain crucial towards ensuring we continue to fulfill our mission and vision for not only today but future generations to come.


Q: How do I make a gift to the University and be With Illinois?

A: To join the campaign, go to giving.illinos.edu and support the area of the University you are most passionate about.

Gifts to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign are facilitated by the University of Illinois Foundation. The UI Foundation also manages gift and endowment funds for the University of Illinois Chicago and the University of Illinois Springfield.  In Fiscal Year 2020, the UI Foundation’s active endowment value was $2.03 billion.


Q: Where can I go to learn more about the campaign?

A:  Please visit with.illinois.edu to learn more about With Illinois.