Biola University’s supporters made history last year by giving more than $26 million to the university — Biola’s highest-ever fundraising total in a single fiscal year.

The financial gifts, most of which were designated for student scholarships and affordability efforts, included six donations of $1 million or more, with the highest being a $7.9 million gift, said Adam Morris, vice president of university advancement.

In total, supporters gave 14,014 gifts between July 2011 and June 2012, with the most common gift amount being about $100. The record-setting year more than doubled the previous year’s total of $11.4 million.

“I am so thankful for God’s provision to Biola this past year and the outpouring of support through gifts of all sizes,” Morris said. “As we step into a new academic year, we are trusting God for his continued blessing to provide for the needs of our students and are praying that God’s Spirit would move in the hearts of our alumni and friends to support our ambitious plans.”

Coming off the historic giving year, Morris said Biola is again setting lofty fundraising goals for the coming year, with a particular focus on making the university affordable for all students. This year’s goal has been set at $20 million, he said.

Greg Ring, a planned giving expert whose firm, Fulcrum Philanthropy Services, works with Biola, said he’s encouraged by Biola’s record year, and by the growth he’s witnessed in the number of people exploring how to wisely steward their finances — especially as baby boomers near retirement and their parents complete their estate plans. In particular, Ring said he has seen a rise in the number of people who are supporting places like Biola with gifts of assets, whether a home, a building, a piece of property or a business. Such gifts can allow people to both support a charity and provide for their family, while also avoiding unnecessary capital gains or estate taxes, he said.

“For many people, when they realize they can use proper planning and wise giving strategies to support Biola and reduce taxes, they want to do it,” said Ring, a father of a Biola graduate. “There are very straightforward, proven solutions to minimize those taxes and redeploy those dollars to places like Biola or other ministries.”

Part of Ring’s expertise is advising people about how to most effectively steward their assets. In his experience, plenty of Christians are faithful in giving a share of their paychecks or other monthly income, but not as many have explored what it means to steward their actual assets, he said.

“Whether I’m giving throughout my lifetime, like Barnabas did in the book of Acts, or I’m giving through my will, it’s important to steward everything that God has given me — not just my paycheck,” he said. “If everybody in the local church stewarded 10 percent of their assets when they passed away, it would make a remarkable, historic difference on missions, church planting, evangelism and scholarships.”

Want to Learn More?

Contact Ron Blomberg in Biola’s Office of Planned Giving at (800) 445-4749.