Inspiring Philanthropy

December 12, 2023

Baylor University’s Give Light Campaign galvanized transformational support from the Baylor Family. That support translated into impact across all aspects of the University — from support for scholarships that will open doors for generations of Baylor Bears to capital projects that have changed the face of Baylor’s campus.

One of the most exciting and unique initiatives to come from the Give Light Campaign resulted from one family’s desire to inspire others toward transformational philanthropy. In May 2019, Paul, B.B.A. ’79, and Alejandra Foster, of El Paso, announced a $100 million gift in support of Give Light with a portion of their gift set aside for what would become the Foster Academic Challenge. The Fosters wanted to inspire other donors to transformational philanthropy while also supporting an area of great need: endowed faculty positions.

“The Give Light campaign underscores the impact our Baylor Family has in creating transformational opportunities at Baylor through philanthropy,” said Toby Barnett, B.A. ’94, interim vice president for advancement and Give Light campaign director. “We are grateful for the Fosters’ intent to inspire others to be bold in their giving to Baylor, and it has been heartening to see how so many of our alumni, Baylor parents and others have responded to this call of supporting excellent teaching, mentorship and exciting research through faculty endowment. As an R1 research university, we value this enduring resourcing of our faculty, and we look forward to celebrating their successes and the impact they have on our students as a result of these generous gifts.”

The Foster Academic Challenge resulted in the funding and creation of 14 new endowed faculty positions in two years, providing transformational support in Baylor’s efforts to become a R1-level research university. The matching program also inspired the University to create the Illuminate Chair Matching program, which sparked the creation of another eight endowed chairs supporting six academic units.

These matching programs have made it possible for more than 40 new endowed faculty positions to be established since the launch of Illuminate.