DENVER
04/25/2011 03:40 pm ET | Updated Jun 25, 2011

University Of Colorado Launches Fundraising Plan: 'Creating Futures' To Raise $1.5 Billion

The president of the University of Colorado announced Monday morning that he was spearheading a massive fundraising effort seeking to drum up $1.5 billion for the school.

Bruce Benson announced the "Creating Futures" drive, which is already more than halfway to its goal thanks to the fundraiser's "silent phase," which has been active since 2006. Most university fundraisers start with such a private effort to build momentum and get key players involved; this one raised around $900 million, according to a university press release.

Benson himself is one of the top ten all-time biggest donors in the university's history, the Denver Post reported Monday. And, with the help of his wife Marcy, he's hoping to build on the success of his last fundraiser, which ran from 1997-2003 and raised $1 billion.

The effort seeks to raise cash at a time when the state government is providing very little.

Of its $1.2 billion budget, only about $65 million, or less than 6 percent, comes from the Colorado government. That is the lowest level of public support for any similar institution in the nation, according to the Daily Camera.

Ninety-eight percent of donations are earmarked for specific purposes, though, the university's statement says. The monies therefore can't be used for the day-to-day operation of the university, meaning that no amount of private fundraising will fully make up for steep declines in state funding.