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Private gifts to UConn up 48 percent (Released: 8/6/97)

by Charlene Tappan, University of Connecticut Foundation.

STORRS, Conn. — The University of Connecticut Foundation Inc. has announced record fund-raising results for fiscal year 1997, the third consecutive year of record results.

During the period July 1, 1996, through June 30, 1997, the Foundation received $19.8 million in gifts from private sources for the University, Edward T. Allenby, vice president for institutional advancement and president of the Foundation, announced today. The year's fund-raising total represents an increase of 48 percent over the $13.3 million received in fiscal year 1996, which was a 62 percent increase over the $8.2 million raised in fiscal year 1995.

"Public universities have been challenged to be competitive in private-sector fund raising, to complement the traditional sources of support and add a margin of excellence," said President Philip E. Austin. "The Foundation has risen to that challenge and had outstanding success in raising funds for the University."

Giving increased in all major categories. Academic programs at the Storrs and regional campuses benefited the most from the generosity of donors, Allenby said. Giving to academic programs increased 72 percent compared to fiscal year 1996, while gifts for the UConn Health Center and the University’s athletic programs also posted significant gains, with increases of 47 percent and 13 percent, respectively. The largest increases in academic fund raising were recorded by the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Institute of Materials Science, and the Schools of Allied Health, Fine Arts, and Law, each of which doubled their gift receipts in fiscal year 1997.

Unrestricted and restricted gifts to non-endowed funds increased 6 percent during the 1997 fiscal year, while gifts to endowment experienced the greatest gain, increasing 124 percent over the same period last year, to $10.6 million from $4.7 million. Endowment funds are used to support items such as undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, professorships and academic programs, and the purchase of such items as computer equipment, library volumes and research materials.

"Gifts to endowment are an important source of perpetual income for the University and are a necessary complement to state funding and student tuition," Allenby said. "They provide a lasting source of funds because we invest the principal permanently, while using the income from these gifts for purposes designated by the donors in support of university priorities."

"The generosity of our alumni and other friends of the University has been overwhelming. Encouraged by the state’s UCONN 2000 matching gifts program, donors have shown unprecedented levels of support," he added.

During fiscal year 1997, the Foundation received 98 gifts of $25,000 or greater, totaling $11.2 million, or 56 percent of total gift receipts. This included six gifts of $500,000 or greater. This compares to a total of 83 gifts of $25,000 or greater received in fiscal year 1996.

The year was marked by the two largest gifts ever to the University from non-corporate donors: $1.75 million from Harold Schwenk Jr. and Paula Schwenk '79 MA to endow a Distinguished Chair in Chemistry and to establish an endowed Fund for Innovative Education in Science, a program designed to encourage undergraduate research and pursuit of science; and a commitment of $1.5 million from Ray Neag '57 and his late wife, Lynn Neag, to enrich the University's nationally recognized program in gifted and talented education. Each gift will be matched dollar for dollar under the UCONN 2000 legislation.

UCONN 2000 — a 10-year, $1 billion state program to rebuild the University's campuses — includes $20 million in state funds to match endowment gifts of $25,000 and more over a three-year period that began Jan. 1, 1996. As of June 30, the UCONN 2000 dollar-for-dollar match has been fully subscribed, after just 18 months. In addition, initial commitments already have been secured against the further matching opportunity approved by the General Assembly in June, which will provide one dollar for every two dollars raised from private sources, up to a total of $52.5 million during the next eight years.

The University of Connecticut Foundation Inc. is a private, tax-exempt corporation that secures contributions from private sources and then manages those funds for the maximum benefit of the University. It has assets of $100 million managed through more than 1,800 funds. It is governed by a volunteer board of directors.