UCSB garnered a 25 percent increase in private funding this year after alumni and other donors contributed more than $68 million in gifts and pledges, helping to accommodate a recent decline in state funds.

The gifts were donated to the UCSB Capital Campaign, which aims to raise the philanthropic support of the university, Director of Development Gary Greinke said. The campaign began with an initial goal of $350 million on July 1, 2000, but was later raised to $500 million after support for the campus appeared to be increasing last May.

“People feel good about the campus and what is going on here,” Greinke said. “Alumni take a lot of pride in the campus.”

Greinke said money from the campaign will be used to construct new buildings and fund various departments and student scholarships.

“We are working to create a culture of giving,” Greinke said. “The purpose of the campaign is to show what the university is trying to accomplish.”

The Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, as well as the Global and International Studies Program are two of the departments receiving especially generous donations, Greinke said. In addition, John Weimann, the vice chancellor of Institutional Advancement, said the Center for Film, Television and New Media has received its $10 million funding entirely from private donors such as UCSB alumni Michael Douglas and Scott Frank.

The total number of gifts the university received last year reached a record of 27,444, with gifts for research increasing by 74 percent, according to a university press release. The total amount the university received last year for research totaled nearly $20 million.

However, Weimann said the increase in private funding that is designated for research will not inhibit the academic freedom involved in campus research.

“For philanthropic support, there is no expected product,” Weimann said. “They are not making any demands.”

Weimann said private financial support helps to maintain the livelihood of the university, which might otherwise suffer.

“Philanthropic support provides programs to students that the state doesn’t provide for,” Weimann said.

Weimann said the increase in support was critical because of the recent decrease in state funding, caused in part by the California State budget crisis.

“The state only does a certain amount,” Weimann said. “Over the last decade the state support has really eroded.”

Greinke said the campaign is likely to extend through 2009 and has volunteers working to raise money all over the country, in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington D.C.

“We have a lot of wonderful volunteers,” he said. “It really is a total team effort.”