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Foundation reports 82 percent increase in fund-raising (Released: 2/6/97)

by Elizabeth Omara-Otunnu, Office of University Communications.

STORRS, Conn. -- After a phenomenal year last year, fund-raising at the University of Connecticut is up again, by 82 percent, in just the first six months of fiscal year 1997.

During the period July 1 through December 31, 1996, UConn received $11.1 million in gifts from private sources, representing an 82 percent increase over the $6.1 million raised in the same period last year, announced Ed Allenby today. Allenby is vice president for institutional advancement and president of the University of Connecticut Foundation, the private, non-profitcorporation that raises and manages private funds for the benefit of the University.

"The Foundation's outstanding success in raising funds for the University demonstrates our increased focus on private giving," said President Philip Austin. "To pursue excellence, public universities these days are starting to act as private universities have for decades -- and that is to rely on people of means to build the spires of excellence within an otherwise very good university."

Giving was up in all major categories in the first half of the current fiscal year. Academic programs at Storrs and the regional campuses posted a gain of 165 percent over the same period last year. Gifts to the Athletics Division and the UConn Health Center were also up by 17 percent and 74 percent respectively. Gifts to the endowment were up 488 percent, at $6.3 million

Overall fund-raising results have risen steadily over the past two years. During the period July 1, 1995, through June 30, 1996, the University received $13.3 million from private sources, up 62 percent over the $8.2 million raised in the previous fiscal year.

"When the state rallied to the support of the University with the UCONN 2000 legislation, we vowed to do our part to raise money from private sources and to build our endowment resources to a competitive level," said Allenby.

"Individual and corporate donors have responded overwhelmingly to the state's very visible endorsement of the University and its programs," he said. "This critical legislation allows us to better leverage private gifts for the University so that we may provide the value-added programs so essential to public research institutions today."

UCONN 2000 -- a 10-year, $1 billion state program to rebuild the University of Connecticut's campuses -- encourages strengthening the endowment by matching endowment gifts up to a total of $20 million over a two-year period. Endowment gifts permanently support the University. They are invested in perpetuity and only the income is used for the specified purpose. Gifts of $25,000 and more are eligible for the state match.

The first half of fiscal year 1997 saw two of the largest-ever single, non-corporate gifts to the Storrs campus. Both are gifts to the University's endowment and will be matched by the state. The first, $1.5 million from Ray Neag, '57, and his late wife, Lynn Neag, will benefit the University's nationally recognized program in gifted and talented education. The second, a gift of $1.75 million from Harold Schwenk, Jr., and Paula Schwenk, '79 MA, will endow a distinguished chair in chemistry and will establish a program to encourage undergraduates to pursue the sciences.

"While state funding and student tuition will remain the primary sources of funding for the University for the foreseeable future, private donations enable us to pursue initiatives that we could not ordinarily undertake and to add the margin of excellence to make good programs outstanding," Allenby said.

Funds raised last fiscal year supported a number of new initiatives at the University, including the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, the Stamford campus, and a new summer program for gifted high school students to work with faculty as mentors. Donations also support student scholarships, faculty positions, and other academic programs.

University officials plan to seek legislation during the current legislative session that would continue a matching gifts program.