University’s philanthropic campaign exceeds goal, empowering a decade of student success

Ten years ago, the University launched the ‘What if...’ campaign, enabling real, local change by providing support to students and increasing research capability.

Over that time the campaign has raised $158 million from over 13,000 gifts, exceeding its initial goal of $150 million by 2022. Acting Vice-Chancellor Jennifer Windsor says this demonstrates the extraordinary generosity and commitment of those who have donated.

“Our deepest gratitude to the many people who believe in the potential of our students and in the difference our research makes.”

“Thousands of students are being supported through scholarships, hundreds of awards have been given, and countless voluntary hours of mentoring through our Alumni as Mentors programme. There are nearly 100 new endowments, meaning that the legacy of support continues into the future. Each of you has enabled us to do things that simply wouldn’t have happened without you.”

Chair of the Victoria University of Wellington Foundation Dame Kerry Prendergast DNZM says the campaign has played a pivotal role towards supporting research at the University, but the good work isn’t over yet.

“It has meant that world leading academics are here, in Wellington, undertaking important, challenging, and tangible research into a wide variety of fields.

“Our world-leading research—in areas as varied as marine conservation, public policy, and understanding neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis—has all been advanced because of the continued generosity of our donors.

“While we’re excited to celebrate the end of this campaign, it is important that we continue to work alongside our community to ensure we can keep changing lives and keep making a difference.”

Another key success of the campaign includes $21 million raised towards the new national music centre.

Dame Kerry says the collective effort of the campaign has also meant that the University’s Student Hardship Fund was able to reach even further and support more students facing emergency financial difficulties.

“The Fund saw a significant increase in applications during the different COVID-19 lockdowns. With students relying on part-time and casual employment, many saw their incomes impacted by the alert level changes.

“In the weeks that followed each lockdown, we were very moved by the support of our alumni and donor community, with over $48,000 donated to our Student Hardship Fund across 2020 and 2021.”

The University is marking the significant milestone with a celebration on our Kelburn Campus on Thursday 17 November.

‘What if…’ campaign highlights