Bound for the Future: The Campaign for Rare Book School

When we launched the Bound for the Future campaign in October 2015, we could not have imagined the generous turnout of the Rare Book School community. Thanks to the combined support of more than 1,300 donors, we are proud to announce that we raised $23,609,521—far surpassing our $15 million goal—to help further the School’s educational programs and mission.

The campaign was momentous for the School’s endowment and long-term sustainability. Of the amount given, $9,556,631 was earmarked for unrestricted endowment. Together with earlier gifts and strong investment returns, the endowment has surged to $16.5 million, growing tenfold since the campaign began. In time, the endowment will provide funding equal to approximately 20% of our annual budget once all commitments have been received. This steady funding will allow RBS to continue its intentional growth and to plan for the future, protecting RBS from pressures beyond our control.

What does this success mean for Rare Book School?

It means that we can help lead the re-animation of humanities education, with the physical book at its core. We can foster and teach new generations of leaders in our libraries and archives worldwide. We can run expanded courses at the University of Virginia and across existing and new partner institutions. We can offer more scholarships and stipends to students who might need financial assistance. We can acquire the collections and rare materials critical to telling a more complete history of the book. And more. This campaign, with the support of our community, has positioned RBS and its students to thrive for years to come.

RBS would like to extend a special thanks to its Board of Directors, to its volunteers, and to its generous donors who helped make this campaign an extraordinary success.



  • $23,609,521 raised across all funds, including:
    • Unrestricted Endowment: $9,556,631
    • The Annual Fund: $3,519,478
    • Scholarships & Fellowships: $1,041,271
  • 5,218 gifts and pledges made
  • 1,318 individual, foundation, and corporate donors, 615 of whom gave for the first time
  • $3,177,125 in grant awards from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Jefferson Trust, and others
  • 40 planned gifts committed and received