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  October 2, 2000

Fund Raising Growth Puts UConn in Top Ranks

If Olympic medals were given for success in fund raising, UConn would be sporting a lot of well-deserved gold.

In fact, UConn and the University of Connecticut Foundation would take top honors not only for raising funds in general but for endowment growth, return on investment and increasing donor participation. They also have decreased the cost per dollar raised.

"By every measure, the University stands out," President Philip E. Austin says. "Our success in recruiting high-achieving students, rebuilding the campuses through the UConn 2000 program and attracting top-notch faculty has inspired donors, who have contributed heavily to our progress. Their contributions in turn have directly helped our students, both in terms of support for scholarships and in funding to support program enhancement."

The UConn Foundation's total revenue the past year was $75 million. A total of $19 million was used by the University, compared to $13 million last year. Distribution of the funds includes:

  • $6 million for scholarships and fellowships;

  • $3 million for endowed chairs and other faculty positions;

  • $4 million for facilities, construction, renovation and equipment (including the new Lodewick Visitors Center).

The University's average annual fund-raising growth rate of 22 percent for the past five years is double the national average. UConn has surpassed other New England public universities and put its fund-raising program in line with others such as the Universities of Alabama, Georgia, Missouri, Delaware, Kansas State, and Oklahoma State.

A comparison of the Foundation's five-year performance (FY '00 vs. FY '95) is very telling:

  • Annual private donations have increased to $37 million from $8 million.

  • The endowment has increased to $221 million from $50 million.

  • Total assets under management have increased to $260 million this year from $65 million.

  • The cost of raising money has been cut in half to 0.18 per dollar from 0.36.

  • The number of endowed faculty chairs has increased to 53 from 21.

"The outpouring of support for the University has been phenomenal," says Edward T. Allenby, vice president for institutional advancement and president of the Foundation. "Our donors are excited about all the wonderful changes that have taken place and are taking place at the University of Connecticut. They are pleased to be a part of the transformation.

Donor participation and commitment to the University made the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2000 the most successful yet:

  • Nearly $37 million in philanthropic support was received, an astounding 44 percent increase over the previous year's $25.5 million.

  • Gifts to programs at Storrs and the regional campuses accounted for $22 million, up 32 percent from last year. Gifts for athletics were $9.7 million, up 41 percent from last year. Gifts to the Health Center were $5 million, up 168 percent.

  • The total number of donors increased an impressive 32 percent to 34,000 in fiscal year 2000, from 26,000 the year before. Of the 34,000 donors, 22,000 were UConn alumni, an alumni participation rate of 18.3 percent compared to the previous year's 13.8 percent. That participation rate clearly demonstrates that the University's alumni are committed to their alma mater and its programs.

  • The Foundation has successfully managed those assets and, for fiscal year 1999, the investment performance of its endowment ranked in the top 1 percent of the country's colleges and universities. Comparisons for 2000 are not available yet, but the Foundation realized a return on investment of 16.5 percent, significantly outperforming UConn's composite benchmark index of 9.1 percent.

The dramatic growth in the endowment is a result of outstanding management by the Foundation's Investment Committee, chaired by David Marks, president and chief executive officer of Allianz of America Inc., a Westport investment management firm. It has been fueled by the matching gift component of UConn 2000, which has provided an additional incentive for donors to contribute to the endowment.

"We are very grateful to the governor and the legislature for providing this incentive," Austin says. "Clearly, it has helped us attract private support."

Other areas where the University excelled in FY '00 include:

  • Total giving to universities grew 9 percent nationally, compared to UConn's 44 percent.

  • Total corporate giving grew 12 percent, compared to UConn's 218 percent.

Even with their gold medal performances, the Foundation's fund raisers aren't resting on their laurels:

  • "The Foundation is fulfilling its mission to raise private funds to promote the educational, scientific, cultural, and recreational objectives of the University," says Allenby. "This year's goal is $40 million and I have every confidence we will achieve our objective."