Vanderbilt University launches $3.2B Dare to Grow campaign

Discovering new drug treatments to prevent brain disorders like Alzheimer’s disease. Driving inclusive innovation for Nashville’s and our nation’s economic growth. Transforming the athletics footprint on campus. Investing in rising faculty. Powering the next generation of young leaders and entrepreneurs through valuable student internships. Expanding access for all talented students, regardless of their financial circumstances. These are just a few of the myriad initiatives and opportunities coming to fruition through Dare to Grow, Vanderbilt University’s $3.2 billion comprehensive campaign. The public phase of the campaign launches today, one month into the university’s Sesquicentennial year.

The new fundraising initiative—the most ambitious in Vanderbilt’s history—will power the university’s most exciting and essential work to date.

“One hundred and fifty years after the founding gift that brought Vanderbilt to life and charged us with serving society, this is a profoundly transformative moment that our entire global community can be part of and take pride in,” Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. “With support from this campaign, we will realize exponentially more of our immense potential, create more impact with more life-changing education and research, expand our efforts to champion free expression and civil discourse, and claim our place as the great university of this century.”

The Dare to Grow campaign, which takes its name from the university’s motto, Crescere aude, embodies three principal pathways for giving—Destination Vanderbilt, Discovery Vanderbilt and One Vanderbilt—designed to drive bold new levels of growth and to shape Vanderbilt’s next 150 years.

  • Destination Vanderbilt: Access and Empowerment will help make the university the intellectual home of the most talented and ambitious students and faculty from around the globe.
  • Discovery Vanderbilt: Growth and Innovation will catalyze the breakthrough research carried out in university labs, archives and studios and enrich the partnerships that turn those big ideas into feasible, scalable solutions.
  • One Vanderbilt: Radical Collaboration, a unique strength among Vanderbilt’s peers and modeled in every corner of campus from athletics to interdisciplinary research to teaching and scholarship, embraces wide-ranging points of view so that Vanderbilt students are prepared to lead in a complex, ever-changing world.

These pathways reflect principles deeply rooted in our mission and culture that define Vanderbilt and distinguish it among its peers. More than $2.4 billion already has been raised toward the campaign’s goal, demonstrating the extraordinary commitment of the Vanderbilt community to the vision set forth for the university.

“From cutting-edge research to athletics to expanding opportunity through financial aid, the Dare to Grow campaign will accelerate our upward trajectory at Vanderbilt,” Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs C. Cybele Raver said. “The incredible momentum we have built together in recent years has led us to this moment. It is now time to realize our most soaring ambitions and unlock the tremendous human potential of each member of our Vanderbilt community through game-changing education, discovery and innovation.”

Dare to Grow’s strong start is largely thanks to the more than 125,000 donors to the campaign thus far. The university aims to bolster that engagement by exceeding 8,000 donors during its annual Giving Day on Thursday, April 27.

“The time is now for us to support an extraordinary opportunity for momentum with new leaders and a vision that will catapult us into our next 150 years,” said university trustee Steven Madden, BS’91, founder, CEO and president of Apex Heritage Group. “Every member of the Vanderbilt community—alumni, students, families, faculty, staff and friends—plays a critical role in educating the leaders of tomorrow and helping to solve the world’s most challenging problems.”

Madden is co-chair of the campaign with university trustee Mark Mays, BA’85, principal of Rocking M Capital and former CEO of Clear Channel Communications. Madden and his wife, Kelly Madden, and Mays and his wife, Patti Mays, BS’86, are longtime supporters of Vanderbilt. All the Mays’ children and most of the Maddens’, as well as other family members, have attended Vanderbilt, including Madden’s brother John and sister-in-law Courtney, who are both 1988 graduates.

“Vanderbilt is one of the best investments any of us can make,” Mays said. “We invite all Commodores to join us as Vanderbilt dares to grow with this bold and historic campaign.”

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