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Fund-raising numbers show strong private support for UConn

by John Sponauer - September 11, 2006

The University of Connecticut Foundation Inc. received more than $43 million in new private giving in the past year to benefit the University.

The financial year-end results continue the recent trend of strong private support for students, faculty, and programs at UConn.

The total amount raised in new gifts and pledges during FY 06 was $43.65 million, the Foundation has announced.

Of this total, $11.5 million was raised for the Health Center; nearly $15 million for athletics; and $17.2 million was received for the Storrs and regional campuses, and the School of Law.

The number of households contributing to the University stood at just over 34,000, representing an increase from FY 05 and 97 percent of the goal for the year.

The Foundation's Annual Fund, which is largely driven by direct mail solicitation and the student-run phonathon, generated nearly $3.8 million, a 23 percent increase over last year and 15 percent above the target for FY 06.

"Private giving is a fuel that powers the public mission of the University," says John Martin, president of the University of Connecticut Foundation Inc.

"Our donors see the importance of their gifts to research, education, and public service at UConn and, by extension, the impact that the University has on the entire state."

A wide range of scholarships, fellowships, endowed chairs, and programs were created or enhanced as a result of this year's fund raising, with an impact on each of the University's schools and colleges as well as the Health Center.

Major gifts included:

  • a $1.25 million gift from Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. to establish an endowed chair in mechanistic toxicology;
  • a $584,000 undergraduate scholarship program funded by the MassMutual Foundation for Hartford Inc. for underprivileged Hartford public school students; and
  • major program support for the Center for Implant and Reconstructive Dentistry at the UConn Health Center, through gifts from dental implant companies Astra Tech Inc. and Straumann USA.

Nearly 25 percent of the total amount raised came from alumni. According to US News & World Report , UConn ranks seventh in the nation among public universities for alumni giving.

The Foundation's endowment investments showed equally strong performance, with an increase of $32 million for the year. Investments gained 14.4 percent, a 44 percent improvement over 2005, despite a turbulent year for financial markets owing to sharp increases in oil and natural gas prices, general inflation pressures, interest rate hikes, and hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

This is the fifth consecutive year of significant gains in the pooled investment portfolio, which stood at $279 million on June 30.

Since 2002, the portfolio has realized gains of $117 million, or 72 percent, placing the University in the top-third of higher education endowments nationwide during this period.

The University's endowment grew to a value of $299 million, approximately a 10 percent increase over 2005, and up from $42 million in 1995.

Private giving to UConn has greatly expanded during the past decade, coinciding with the publicly-funded UConn 2000 and 21st Century UConn projects and nationally-ranked athletic programs.

Alumni relations have also been enhanced among the nearly 100,000 UConn alumni living in Connecticut.

"There's great excitement in the air at UConn," Martin says.

"We're attracting top students and faculty, and have seen the University's national reputation grow significantly. The recent fund-raising successes are testimony to this fact."

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