U of T President Meric Gertler spoke about the end of the Boundless Campaign on March 19, after the fundraising drive raised a record $2.641 billion for U of T over seven years.
Following student protests about the university’s mental health services, there is a growing online movement calling on the university to use donations from the Boundless Campaign to fund mental health services. However, most of the donations are not free for the university to use at its discretion.
Much of the funding will be used for specific projects across U of T and funds that are not specifically earmarked for particular initiatives are generally given to student support.
David Palmer, U of T’s Vice-President Advancement, wrote to The Varsity about how the money will be distributed. He explained that $406 million of donations have been provided specifically to establish or grow nearly 4,000 scholarships, support 220 student-focused programs, and lift the university’s endowments for student support “above $1 billion for the first time in [the university’s] history.”
A further $600 million was donated for use in construction and revitalization projects, including the renovations of University College, the Munk School’s Citizen Lab, the construction of the Jackman Law Building, and the Robarts Common — an extension that was originally planned for Robarts Library but never fulfilled.
Some contributions are targeted to address mental health at U of T, such as donations totalling $3 million by the Rossy Family Foundation. The Foundation gave $1 million to the Health & Wellness Centre in 2016, and has donated an additional $2 million to the university to support mental health initiatives. These initiatives will include a prevention strategy, which would educate students on managing their own mental health, as well as increase the number of embedded counsellors and nurses in accessible locations.
Other donations for mental health initiatives include $1.5 million for the Anne Steacy Counselling Initiative at Trinity College, $2 million for research into prevention and early detection of youth mental illness, and $20 million to research the biology of depression.
The majority of donations to the Boundless campaign originated in Canada, though significant contributions also came from Hong Kong, the United States, and the United Kingdom.