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The Best Investment

By Paul Seifert

No one needs to tell you that the economy has been rocky for much of the past year. Businesses have closed, people have lost jobs, corporate titans have tumbled, and belts have been tightened across the U.S. But let me share some good news. Even during hard economic times, people retain an instinctual desire to give. It may not be in the amounts they would like or the frequency they would want, but they still give.

As we entered the final phase of the University’s Knowledge for the World fundraising campaign, the Bloomberg School was substantially shy of its goal. Those of us in development drew a collective breath, worried that the retreating economy would close wallets and leave important parts of our mission unfulfilled. If not for the trust of our donors and their vision, we would not have come close to achieving our goal for the eight-year campaign, which concluded December 31st. In fact, we not only reached our goal of $500 million, we surpassed it by more than 16 percent. With our donors’ support, we have been able to endow three department chairs, seven professorships and 49 scholarships and fellowships. We also have been able to upgrade and expand the Wolfe Street Building to almost 1 million square feet.

The remarkable conclusion to the campaign is a great testament both to the vision of the Bloomberg School’s family of donors and their commitment to helping us provide lifesaving research, train public health leaders and advance public health practice. As Dean Michael J. Klag frequently reminds us, fundraising is not about the money but what we can achieve with it. I witnessed the most recent of our School’s achievements on May 20 as 776 students received their diplomas at convocation. This is one of our greatest legacies—a new generation of leaders who will change the future of public health.

Everyone who contributed to the School made the best possible investment: It not only will endure rocky times but will pay dividends for public health for decades to come.

We all owe you our deepest thanks.