Priority 4: Annual Fund Giving & Unrestricted Funds

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Unrestricted giving, including endowed contributions to the Dean’s Innovation Fund and gifts to the Darden Annual Fund, has been the key to Darden’s rise as one of the top business schools in the world.

Darden Annual Fund

The Darden Annual Fund provides critical operating support for the Darden enterprise that enables Dean Bruner to take advantage of new opportunities, respond to challenges and invest strategically in the future. Through yearly gifts to the Darden Annual Fund, Darden alumni, students and friends renew their ties to the School, shape students’ daily experiences and propel the Darden Community to new heights.

Darden has a relatively small alumni pool compared to our peer schools, and we ask that all alumni make Darden a philanthropic priority. These contributions are essential to preserving and protecting Darden’s financial health. As a financially self-sufficient institution, Darden does not receive funds from the University or Commonwealth of Virginia.

The Darden Annual Fund recognizes donors through membership in two giving societies.



Darden Society rosette

The Darden Society

The Darden Society, founded in 1996, recognizes donors who make leadership gifts of $2,500 or more to Darden each year. Membership extends to members of the four most recent classes at the $1,000 level.

Sponsors' Circle

$50,000 and above







Dean's Roundtable 


Abbott Associates

$1,000–$2,499 (Classes of 2011–14)




Hickory Club logo

The Hickory Club

The Hickory Club recognizes Darden alumni who have given consistently each year to Darden for a minimum of three years. Hickory was Dean Charles C. Abbott's ever-loyal black Labrador retriever and is a symbol of the dedication Darden alumni express for the School through consecutive giving.


Dean's Innovation Fund

Unrestricted, endowed gifts and commitments to the Dean’s Innovation Fund enable the dean to realize his vision by responding quickly and strategically to ever-changing needs and opportunities. Your gift gives the dean the capacity to take advantage of emerging opportunities to strengthen academic and student life, to improve facilities, to launch special initiatives, and to recruit or retain talented faculty members. Gifts to unrestricted endowment from $100,000 to $10 million will be recognized with naming opportunities for buildings and spaces on the Darden Grounds.



Learn more about giving opportunities for Annual Fund Giving & Unrestricted Funds.

For more information, contact the Office of Advancement at +1-434-924-6576.

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