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Miller School of Medicine Raises Its Ranking in Annual Fundraising Survey

The University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine made impressive gains in fundraising performance among medical schools, placing in the top 13 percent in the newest Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) Development Survey.

After analyzing data from 121 public and private institutions for the fiscal year 2016, the survey showed that the Miller School moved up five spots up from 2015, ranking 16 with total private support of $159.8 million.

Among “Joint Programs” (medical schools with hospitals and health centers), the Miller School ranked 11 of 48 institutions, moving up two places from its previous ranking of 13.

“I am enormously proud of what we have been able to accomplish,” said Edward Abraham, M.D., acting executive vice president for health affairs, CEO of UHealth, and dean and chief academic officer of the Miller School. “Fundraising is essential to the Miller School commitment to providing state-of-the-art research, education, and community service.

Among the schools ranked above the Miller School are NYU Langone Medical Center, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, Duke University Health System, and University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health.

Institutions coming in below the Miller School include Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine, Yale School of Medicine, and Harvard Medical School.

The AAMC conducts the annual benchmarking survey to measure the impact, costs, and staffing of fundraising at its member medical schools and teaching hospitals. The results help medical schools and teaching hospitals identify philanthropic trends for development planning purposes.


Among the key highlights and observations:


  • Average philanthropic support increased in 2016. The mean total private support among all reporting institutions rose by 2.5 percent, from $66.9 million in 2015 to $68.6 million in 2016. Public schools experienced an increase from $49.0 million to $54.5 million in 2016, while support among private institutions decreased from a mean of $91.4 million to $90.0 million in 2016.


  • “Current operations” continued to be the largest category of private support gifts.  For all reporting institutions, the mean of current operations donations increased 5.1 percent from $47.6 million in 2015 to $50.0 million in 2016. Unrestricted gifts accounted for 9.8 percent of total support dedicated to current operations in 2016, down from 12.9 percent in 2015. This decrease is consistent with what is observed in gifts received in other sectors of philanthropy.


  • Individuals who are not alumni or staff of medical schools or teaching hospitals remained the largest segment of individual donors. Of the average total private support gifts by individuals received in 2016, 80.8 percent were contributed by unaffiliated individuals. Many of these gifts are likely made by former patients and/or family members of former patients. On average, all institutions received a mean of $18.2 million in support from all unaffiliated individuals.


  • Scholarship gifts increased.  The median of donations raised for medical student scholarships by medical schools and joint programs in 2016 stood at $1.6 million, which is above the $1.2 million median reported for 2015.


  • The number of development full-time equivalencies (FTEs) at private institutions continued to be larger than those at public institutions.  For 2016, the average total staff at private institutions was 59.5 FTEs, while at public institutions, the average was 32.6. Staffing levels reported for both private and public institutions had increased from 2015.


  • Fundraising costs increased.  Total fundraising costs averaged $7.3 million in 2016 among all institutions, marking a 7.2 percent increase from the $6.9 million in total expenses reported for 2015. For private schools in 2016, the mean cost was $10.6 million; for public institutions, the mean was $5.2 million.


  • Personnel costs increased.  Personnel costs for all institutions increased from a mean of $4.1 million in 2015 to a mean of $4.5 million.


  • Number of $1 million-plus gifts increased.  Data for 2016 reflects 1,486 gifts higher than $1 million – noted as new outright cash gifts and new pledge gift commitments of $1.0 million and larger – of which 213 were in the $5.0 million+ category. By comparison, 2015 data reflected 1,482 gifts of $1.0 million and larger, of which 235 were gifts of $5.0 million or larger.


  • More than one-half of the institutions were involved in a campaign.  Fifty-eight percent of the institutions surveyed reported being involved in a campaign in 2016, representing a marginally higher proportion of institutions reporting in the 2015 survey (57 percent).  Joint programs reported a median campaign goal of $610 million, medical schools had a median goal of $240 million, and teaching hospital respondents’ median goal was $500 million. The median campaign length for all institutions was seven years.


Tags: Association of American Medical Colleges, development survey, fundraising, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine