Donors fuel three record years of Berkeley Haas fundraising

Haas campus at sunset with the Campanile
Haas at sunset. Photo: Noah Berger

Building on three years of fundraising momentum, Berkeley Haas raised more than $56 million for the school in fiscal 2023.

Under the leadership of Dean Ann Harrison, the Berkeley Haas Development and Alumni Relations team (DAR) team reported a record three-year period in the school’s history, raising more than $171 million from alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, and friends.

“The Haas community continues to come together to provide incredible support to the school,” Harrison said. “These generous gifts will be used to help us continue to expand our faculty, enrich our students, and empower our alumni as we work for a more sustainable and equitable future. We are truly grateful.”

The total amount raised in 2023 includes $4.1 million from 3,554 donors to the Haas Fund, which is used to retain faculty and provide student scholarships, as well as to support alumni programs and career services.

Haas also achieved its UC Berkeley-wide Light the Way campaign goal of raising $400 million in July, six months before the close. Launched in 2014, The Light the Way campaign is a historic effort to raise $6 billion. The campaign ends on December 31, 2023.

More notable highlights this year for Haas include:

  • Raising four gifts of more than $5 million in a single year, a first in the school’s history.
  • Launching an HBCU MBA Fellowship with founding gifts from five alumni. The first-of-its-kind endowment will provide tuition support to MBA students who have attended a Historically Black College or University.
  • Funding a new Berkeley Haas entrepreneurship hub, which is slated to open in fall 2024. 
  • Posting more than $500,000 in challenge matches during an epic Big Give one-day online fundraiser.

Alumni engagement highlights from the past year:  

Alumni volunteers, advisors, mentors, and speakers again stepped forward to serve the school in the past year, in efforts including:

  • Serving as speakers at events and in classrooms, and as case competition judges throughout the year. 
  • Sharing their stories on 27 episodes of the OneHaas podcast (with a total of 21,622 downloads)
  • Advising students in all of our degree programs with career and admissions support.
  • Helping Haas organize and host its second annual virtual Alumni Diversity Symposium
  • Sourcing and sharing 619 job posts through the alumni—powered Hire Haas campaign.

Berkeley Haas also returned to a full slate of alumni events this year, hosting three special regional events with Dean Ann Harrison in London, Los Angeles, and New York. Over 2,400 Haas community members participated in our signature events, with more than 1,200 returning for the annual MBA Reunion Weekend and Alumni Conference.

“We are incredibly grateful to all of our generous donors and alumni volunteers who continue to support our short- and long-term vision as a top business school,” Assistant Dean and Chief Development Officer Howie Avery said.

For more information about investing in the school’s priorities and/or becoming a volunteer please contact Howie Avery or the Development and Alumni Relations office.

A record-breaking 2022 for fundraising at Berkeley Haas

student walking toward faculty building at Haas with campanille in back
Berkeley Haas raised $69 million from more than 4,300 donors in fiscal 2022. Campus photo: Noah Berger

The Haas School of Business announced its best fundraising year in the school’s history, raising $69 million from more than 4,300 donors in fiscal year 2022. 

The banner year was anchored by a $30 million gift to transform the Berkeley Haas Undergraduate Program.

This year’s efforts bring the total raised for the past two fiscal years to a record $116 million, the most ever raised in two consecutive years.

“So many alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, and friends went beyond themselves this year, providing unbelievable support for Haas,” Dean Ann Harrison said. “Their generous gifts will be used to do important work within our community, work that will help Haas build the next generation of Berkeley leaders, stay connected to and support our alumni community, and remain a top business school. We are truly grateful.”

Fundraising highlights from the past year:

  • $69 million raised from donations by 4,339 alumni, faculty, staff, students, parents, and friends.
  • A $30 million gift, the largest single donation in the school’s history, from Ned Spieker, BS 66, and his wife, Carol, BS 66 (political science). Their gift will be used to launch the four-year Spieker Undergraduate Program in Fall of 2024.
  • The addition of seven new Builders of Berkeley—donors who given at least $1 million to Berkeley—including Haruki, MBA 12, and Mikiko Satomi, Kevin, BS 82 JD/MBA 85 and Eileen Shields, John Hokom, BS 59, MBA 60, Steve Etter, BS 83, MBA 89, Roshni and Jagdeep Singh, MBA 90, Joanne and Jon Goldstein, BS 82; and the Liang-Kuo Family.
  • The 2022 one-day Big Give campaign, which raised $2.475 million from a record 911 gifts.
  • A record number of gifts of $2,500, the new gift level for the Haas Leadership Society.
  • A record $4.86 million raised for the Haas Fund, the most raised in one year. Gifts to the Haas Fund are used for scholarships and program enhancements, as well as our Alumni Network podcasts, lifelong learning, and alumni programming.

Alumni engagement highlights from the past year:  

Alumni engagement also thrived in 2022, with a record-breaking group of nearly 1,700 alumni returning to campus for their makeup and in-person MBA reunion weekend celebrations. Together, the MBA reunion classes of 2020 and 2021 donated $2.2 million and gave 11 lead gifts. At the annual Alumni Conference, the combined virtual and in-person events allowed alumni from all over the world to tap into Haas thought leadership. In-person events fostered community-building and connections.  

More alumni engagement highlights:

  • Alumni affinity groups increased programming for women graduates as well as programming in real estate and growth industries like cryptocurrency and blockchain.  
  • Alumni sourced and shared 474 jobs with the school as part of the Hire Haas campaign.  
  • More than 3,700 alumni accepted a call to action, volunteering for Haas by assisting with admissions, meeting with students for career conversations, serving as guest speakers or panelists, or leading and arranging events and programs for fellow alumni.  
  • The OneHaas Alumni Podcast produced 42 podcasts featuring alumni in conversation about their Haas experience and career trajectories.
  • Three new mentoring programs were launched to support student career planning and help build greater alumni connections.
  • A self-paced alumni lifelong-learning management platform was launched which provides video content curated for intellectual curiosity. The first two courses focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion resources for alumni. 

For more information about investing in the schools priorities and/or becoming a volunteer please contact Howie Avery, assistant dean for Development & Alumni Relations, or the Development and Alumni Relations office.

Big Give 2020 is a big success

Students at Big GiveIn the midst of challenging times, the Berkeley Haas community stepped up for Big Give: The annual 24-hour campus-wide online fundraising blitz brought in more than $5.5 million in donations to the school this year.

“Philanthropy is a big part of our school’s ability to react during this crisis, and donor support is more important than ever,” said Tracy Mills, executive director of Berkeley Haas Development and Alumni Relations. “Big Give is a wonderful way for us all to come together and demonstrate our collective strength, resilience and compassion. We know there are so many other things top-of-mind for people right now, and we are grateful that hundreds of faculty, staff, students, and alumni chose to give back to Haas during the Big Give.”

Dean Ann Harrison supports the Big Give
Dean Ann Harrison thanks Big Give donors.

The school’s March 11 Big Give successes include:

  • topping the leaderboard with $5,574,169 raised. For the second year in a row, Haas was the top fundraising department on campus.
  • raising 598 gifts in a single day and securing $160,500 with two challenge matches.
  • winning the campus prizes for the most gifts to one fund, and securing the most gifts from young alumni.

Big Give launched in 2014 to give the entire Berkeley community—alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends—the chance to come together to support favorite schools and programs, and to help those schools and programs win prize money. This year’s event raised $10,130,341 from 12,538 gifts campus-wide.

If you missed the Big Give, it’s still possible to donate.


Big thanks: Haas raises nearly $2.9 million during Big Give fundraising blitz

Haas doubled its donations to Big Give this year, raising nearly $2.9 million during the annual 24-hour campus-wide online fundraising blitz.

A record total of $2,808,701 poured in from 610 gifts to support students, faculty, and campus programs.

Big Give launched in 2014 to give the entire Cal community — alumni, parents, students, faculty, staff, and friends — the chance to come together to support favorite schools and programs, and to help those schools and programs win prize money.

“It’s inspiring to watch the entire community come together to maintain the excellence of our school during the Big Give,” said Tracy Mills, senior director of Development and Alumni Relations at Haas. “The total we raised didn’t come from one big gift, it was the combination of hundreds of people working together to support Berkeley Haas.”

Campus-wide, Big Give raised $22.4 million from 8,646 gifts. Haas was the third largest overall donor following Cal Athletics and the University Library. Haas also won the prize for the most total number of gifts to one fund and the prize for a randomly selected alumni donor.

Find out more about Big Give here.

Campus dignitaries dedicate Chou Hall, newest addition to campus

UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ at the Chou Hall dedication.
UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ at the Chou Hall dedication. All photos: Noah Berger

The Cal Band marched.  Dignitaries spoke. A beloved donor inspired a standing ovation.

It was all in honor of Chou Hall, the newest campus addition, which was dedicated last Friday in a standing-room-only ceremony.

“A lot of people have truly gone beyond themselves to make Chou Hall possible, and the culture of giving back has never been stronger,” said Haas Dean Rich Lyons, who was joined by UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ and University of California President Janet Napolitano in Chou Hall’s Spieker Forum.

Chou Hall, which opened last August and was 10 years in the making, was funded entirely by $63 million raised from alumni and friends. The building, which is used solely as student classroom space, opens at a critical time. Over the past 20 years, enrollment at Berkeley Haas has nearly doubled.

“We knew that the building would allow us to not just draw more students and grow, but to grow strategically,” Lyons said. “But I don’t think we could have imagined launching (the new undergraduate) M.E.T. program.. and launching all these new wonderful programs, and that’s part of what we’re all doing here together.”

A call to give

Perhaps the event’s most heartfelt words came from Kevin Chou, BS 02, who with his wife, Dr. Connie Chen, gave a gift of up to $25 million. The building is named to honor the couple.

Left to right: Building donor Kevin Chou, UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ, Dean Rich Lyons, University of California President Janet Napolitano, building donor Ned Spieker, project manager Walter Hallanan.

Chou spoke of a love for Cal that’s deepened since he first stepped on campus as an undergrad. He reflected on how sharing a panel with entrepreneurship Prof. Toby Stuart in April 2015 at The Battery club in San Francisco kindled his philanthropic plan.

“It was that night that I learned about the need for the community to rally to make this project possible,” Chou said. “Toby’s love for teaching, research, and bringing students together with the technology community through Silicon Valley Immersion Week was a great reminder of love and inspired me to find out more about this project and how I could get involved.”

Chou, who introduced his wife and baby daughter, then gave a nod to “the love that Dean Lyons exudes through his leadership,”

“Dean Lyons, it is your leadership that this community of alumni love and believe in,” he said. “This space we are now in is a testament to your incredible work that has spanned over a decade.”

UC Berkeley Chancellor Carol T. Christ (second from right) and University of California President Janet Napolitano (right) celebrate Chou Hall.

Spieker Forum is named for building donor Ned Spieker, BS 66, who helped lead the funding effort by establishing a nonprofit entity to manage design and construction of the building. Lyons said Spieker’s efforts were “a fundamental part of what made this project go.”

Lyons also lauded building project manager Walter Hallanan, BS 72, as “the person who had to sweat every detail.”

“Walter and Ned made this work, while saving on time and cost,” Lyons said.

It takes a village

Napolitano said that Chou Hall embodies the Berkeley Haas Defining Leadership Principles: Question the Status Quo, Confidence Without Attitude, Students Always and Beyond Yourself. She added that the building is “an unprecedented testament to the generosity of the Berkeley Haas alumni.”

Chancellor Christ said that Haas students are “at the center of this building.”  She noted its natural beauty—the light pouring in from the windows, the sustainable materials used in construction, and the slick classroom technology that makes Chou Hall a state-of-the-art hub for student learning.

“It takes a village to build a building,” she said. “There are many, many partners who have joined together in making Chou Hall a reality.”

Sharifa Dunn, MBA 18 and the class president, expressed gratitude for the building and all that it’s done to enhance the learning experience at Haas for all students.

“I’ve had the unique experience of not having and having the building, so I know what it’s like to not have something as beautiful as this,” she said. “Up here…the view that this offers. This is why I moved to California!”

The Cal Band closes the Chou Hall dedication ceremony.
The Cal Band closes the Chou Hall dedication ceremony.

Chou Hall is the first academic building in the US designed to be both WELL and LEED Platinum certified, meaning it promotes the health and well-being of its occupants and is highly energy efficient and sustainably built. The building is also on track to become the first Zero-Waste building on campus by summer.

A plaque honoring Kevin Chou and Connie Chen hangs inside the building, inscribed with the following words: “We hope in this building students from all walks of life, experiences, and disciplines will come together to build a brighter future.”

After Chou read the words, the audience stood in applause. Then the Cal Band made a surprise appearance to close the ceremony, marching on stage in straw hats with cymbals and drums and singing the Cal fight song.