By Kathleen Wong, UC Natural Reserve System
The numbers are in, the figures have been totaled, and what they add up to is nothing short of astounding: the NRS 50th Anniversary Capital Campaign raised more than $90.4 million to support educational programs, land stewardship, facilities, and more across the largest university-administered reserve system in the world. A new report summarizes the results of the campaign, detailing sources of support as well as how NRS reserves and programs are benefit.
The campaign benefited from two unusual situations. Development teams from each of the nine general UC campuses came together to fundraise for a common goal—a first in University history. The support raised by each team went toward reserves managed by their campus.
The State of California enhanced NRS fundraising further by passing Proposition 68 in 2018. The measure provided up to $10 million in bond funds for the NRS, if reserves contributed matching dollars. This incentive enabled donors to multiply their giving impact. Bond funds have been used to build research facilities, buy land, preserve state wildlife resources, and study climate change at reserves.
Major credit for the success of the campaign goes to the many individuals and groups who helped strategize and steer the effort. These include former NRS Executive Director Peggy Fiedler and campaign consultant Tina Batt, NRS faculty and staff, the campaign Board of Councilors, and the Working Group of development staff.
The campaign was begun in 2015 to address major NRS funding needs. When the UC Regents established the reserve system in 1965, they did not specify an ongoing source of funding. Over time, the success of the reserve system at providing platforms for research and teaching secured permanent staff and budget support from the University.
More recently, the threat of global climate change has made the reserve system more important than ever. Its protected landscapes are ideal places to study how best to manage ecosystems for wildfire resilience and conservation. Campaign funds help the reserve system attain its potential to sustain the people and environment of California into the future.