Spring 2023

Funding Public Health

article summary

Gillings tackles public health challenges and conducts diverse projects. Unrestricted giving amplifies its impact by allowing funding toward areas of greatest need.

Public health practitioners protect and improve the health of people and communities. They focus on root causes of disease and use evidence to develop policies and practices that create the conditions for people to thrive. Their remit is broad, as are the scope and actions of the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. Unrestricted giving supports timely solutions to pressing public health challenges.

Charitable giving supports excellence in research, education and practice at the Gillings School through merit-based scholarships, professorships, project-based support and unrestricted giving. These funds make up a portion of our operating budget with the rest coming from such sources as state appropriations, student tuition and government grants.

Contributions from generous members of our community fueled record-breaking success during the Campaign for Carolina, raising millions to support public health across North Carolina and around the world.

As well as educating the next generation of public health leaders, members of the UNC Gillings faculty are engaged in diverse projects, from engineering new ways to filter PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances or “forever chemicals”) from water to training health care workers to provide mothers and newborns with evidence-based care. They pursue the aim of improved health wherever it leads.

Tackling big problems means working across disciplines, institutions and sectors. We must remain nimble and flexible while working within unavoidable constraints. By providing flexibility, unrestricted giving amplifies our impact, allowing the Gillings School to allocate funding toward the areas of greatest need and emerging issues. For example, flexible funding allowed us to pursue studies that directly contributed to our understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Making a planned gift was the best way for us to make a big impact on that pool of unrestricted funds,” said Todd A. Durham, PhD ’16 (health policy and management), MS ’95 (biostatistics), member of the Public Health Foundation Board of Directors (the organization that manages funds raised through annual giving). “Whether to attract students or deal with emergencies, I know it will be used well.”

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