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UNC Institute for the Environment surpasses $12 million goal in historic Campaign for Carolina

January 6, 2023 Campaign Goal Graphic

The UNC Institute for the Environment (IE) has surpassed its $12 million campaign goal in Carolina’s campus-wide fundraising campaign. The Campaign for Carolina, launched in 2017, raised a record-setting $5 billion before closing Dec. 31, 2022. In addition to public funding from the state of North Carolina, the Institute depends on the generosity of individual donors, corporations and foundations to carry out its mission of research, education and public service.

“This is an enormous accomplishment and speaks to the confidence the IE’s supporters have in our environmental work,” says Mike Piehler, director of the UNC Institute for the Environment and chief sustainability officer for Carolina. “The Institute for the Environment is a stronger organization with a brighter future because of the commitments we have received from alumni and friends near and far. The generosity of our donors has helped to strengthen our environmental research capacity, extend our community engagement, and empower a new generation of environmental leaders.”

A host of programs were created, enhanced or expanded during the Campaign for Carolina, which publicly launched in 2017, including:

  • $4 million in grants to support environmental work led by our principal investigators. This work includes air quality research, K-12 environmental programming, community engagement and climate change research.
  • More than $1.5 million in unrestricted support to fund critical needs that require an immediate infusion of support
  • More than $1.4 million to support professorships and fellowships
  • More than $1M to fund environmental internships
  • More than $1M to fund sustainability programs
  • Nearly $1 million to support our environmental fields sites including faculty support, student scholarships and student research
  • More than $744,000 in private donations from individuals to support environmental research that includes environmental risk, environmental career programs, the energy transition and translating environmental research for public use to support policy decisions
  • More than $700,000 to support the UNC Cleantech Summit including funding for programming

Through these programs, the Institute’s world-class students, faculty and staff have shown their value to the state and beyond as innovative thinkers and problem-solvers and have garnered the attention of investors who believe in their work. Throughout the campaign, the Institute stood-out among UNC programs including being selected for a partnership with the senior class in 2022 to raise money and awareness for a new environmental justice research program and landing on the top 10 leaderboard for several consecutive years for GiveUNC, Carolina’s university-wide day of giving.

UNC-Chapel Hill is the first university in the South to raise more than $5 billion in a single campaign and is currently one of six public universities in the U.S. to raise more than $5 billion in a single campaign. The other five universities are University of California, Berkeley; University of California, San Francisco; UCLA; University of Michigan; and University of Washington.