Despite steep budget cuts from state lawmakers, donors to University of Missouri are proving their stripes.
Donors broke a record in the 2017 fiscal year by donating over $121 million in cash donations. Overall, donations including pledges totaled almost $152 million, the fourth highest in the school's history according to a news release.
The Mizzou: Our Time to Lead campaign has a fundraising goal of $1.3 billion by 2020. The university is currently over two-thirds of the way there with $905 million total.
Tom Hiles, the vice-chancellor of advancement at Mizzou, says he feels hopeful the university is on track to meet their goal-- if not exceed it.
"That gives us three years to complete the campaign, so we feel confident that we're going to hopefully significantly surpass that number but certainly exceed the goal," Hiles says.
Fundraising publicly began in October 2015, just before protests on Mizzou's campus. Hiles says they affected some donor funding.
"Some people threatened to pull their pledges, and some did," he says.
Hiles credits the stabilization of leadership, like the appointment of UM System President Mun Choi, with relaxing donors.
"That kind of stability of leadership and really new dynamic leadership is giving folks a lot of optimism," Hiles says.
The fundraising will go towards three top priorities: growing endowment, supporting signature academic programs and improving campus infrastructure.
Catherine Wheeler is an intern for KCUR 89.3.