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U of M closing in on ambitious $500M fundraising goal

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES</p><p>UCN hopes the midwifery program will be offered in September on the University of Manitoba campus.</p>

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

UCN hopes the midwifery program will be offered in September on the University of Manitoba campus.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/6/2016 (946 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The University of Manitoba has raised $394.8 million in its historically ambitious $500-million Front and Centre capital campaign.

To be precise, $394,821,382 by Monday afternoon in the first campaign update since the official kickoff eight months ago, fundraising chair Paul Soubry said Monday afternoon.

The U of M had had already raised an exceptionally precise $215,294,636.30 by early October in the largest capital fundraising campaign by a public institution in Manitoba history.

The updated total includes $150 million in provincial money promised last fall and again in January by former NDP premier Greg Selinger. that promise is not binding on Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister, whose government has yet to commit.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/6/2016 (946 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

The University of Manitoba has raised $394.8 million in its historically ambitious $500-million Front and Centre capital campaign.

To be precise, $394,821,382 by Monday afternoon in the first campaign update since the official kickoff eight months ago, fundraising chair Paul Soubry said Monday afternoon.

The U of M had had already raised an exceptionally precise $215,294,636.30 by early October in the largest capital fundraising campaign by a public institution in Manitoba history.

The updated total includes $150 million in provincial money promised last fall and again in January by former NDP premier Greg Selinger. that promise is not binding on Progressive Conservative Premier Brian Pallister, whose government has yet to commit.

The Front and Centre campaign ends in the spring of 2018 — in a perfect world, the university would raise $350 million and the province would kick in $150 million.

Soubry was confident the university would break the $400-million barrier by the next update Sept. 24 during Homecoming.

"We are well on our way. We are very close to achieving our $500-million goal," Soubry told a campaign event on campus Monday afternoon that featured major donors and alumni joining in by teleconference.

Retired insurance executive Gregg Mason quipped by teleconference that when Soubry told him the goal was $500 million, "I thought you were smoking Trudeau cigarettes."

"Kudos to the entire team," said businessman and philanthropist Hartley Richardson, who singled out the provincial government for its support.

The $150 million is an enormous amount of money, and an enormous part of the campaign.

But it's not binding on the Pallister government; the premier has warned repeatedly that the NDP left the province in such a financial hole that he can't possibly pay for everything the New Democrats promised.

Education Minister Ian Wishart said in an interview Monday afternoon that the Tories are still going through every NDP promise on a case-by-case basis.

"We've certainly been in contact with them very recently," Wishart said, stressing the importance of education to the Pallister government. "It is certainly a very convincing argument."

U of M president David Barnard confirmed that it was very recently — earlier Monday, in fact.

"Our conversations have been positive with the government," Barnard said.

The NDP had originally planned to provide the $150 million spread out over as many as seven years.

Barnard said the university's expectations for provincial support haven't changed. "That's the plan we has from the beginning — that's what we'll move forward with."

Soubry said that one in six of the 136,000 living graduates for whom the university has an address, have donated.

So far, the campaign has not announced any large donations — including a $30 million donation from the Rady family — which was not included in the October total.

Barnard pointed out that students have contributed $14.2 million just from referenda among students in each faculty and department.

U of M Students Union president Tanjit Nagra said that students will be announcing further donations during Homecoming: "It is going to be big," she said.

The campaign is focused not so much bricks and mortar this time around, though there's a new medical campus building to move nursing from the Fort Garry campus to the new faculty of health sciences to work beside other disciplines; there's a facility for the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation, the venerable Tache building becomes an arts centre, and there are repairs — a lot of repairs and upgrades.

Almost half the money will go to some form of student support. The university has set indigenous education, research, graduate students, student experience and bricks and mortar as its five priorities — which coincide with both the university's strategic plan and its strategic enrolment-management plan.

So far, there's plenty of money for student support and for physical projects, and less so for indigenous education and research.

The original campaign fundraising goals add up to $577.5 million. The U of M expects those figures to evolve as the campaign progresses and will be adjusted depending on donors' wishes for the use of their money, and depending on the campaign's success. The most recent capital campaign raised a record $237.5 million with an initial goal of $200 million.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca

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