Thomas J. Farrell, the president of the U. of I. Foundation, wants to establish a new strategic direction for the U. of I. to not only to raise more money, but also to engage its alumni and donors in supporting the university on various levels, including serving on volunteer boards and serving as ambassadors for the university.
Farrell addressed more than 450 elected Foundation members and members of the President's Council and Chancellor's Circle at the U. of I. Foundation's Annual Meeting on Oct. 18.
He and other speakers at the meeting encouraged and applauded engagement by alumni and friends and congratulated them for elevating the U. of I. to a banner year in fundraising.
The university and UIF raised $234.9 million in outright cash gifts, pledge payments, annuities/life income gifts and estate distributions, according to Walter Knorr, the U. of I. chief financial officer and treasurer of the U. of I. Foundation. This is the largest year in terms of cash in the university's history and is an 11.5 percent ($24.3 million) increase from FY12. The university processed 144,820 gifts during FY13; that is a 2 percent increase from a year ago.
The university and the foundation also established a new record in new business during FY13. New gifts, grants, pledges and deferred commitments totaled $434.9 million. This is the first year that the university has eclipsed the $400 million mark and it is a 40 percent ($124 million) increase from FY12. It is the seventh year in a row that new business has surpassed the $250 million mark.
The combined active endowment for the university and foundation stands at $1.9 billion as of June 30, compared to $1.6 billion at the end of FY12. The endowment performance for the active blended endowment pool was 12.8 percent for FY13.
"The gifts we continue to receive are a cornerstone that supports the best and brightest students, world-class faculty members and leading edge academic and research programs that transform lives and drive progress of our state and nation," said Bob Easter, the president of the university.
"The president, chancellors, deans and academic leadership of the university are firmly committed to the idea of building and strengthening relationships within our university community," Farrell said. "This plan is really their plan and our entire team is dedicated in moving it forward."
Farrell outlined the framework of a new plan: "A Roadmap to a New Culture of Philanthropy and Engagement." The plan, once completed, will lay the groundwork for ambitious goals of doubling the fundraising in the next seven to 10 years and doubling the endowment. The universitywide plan will be finalized within the next few months.
"We all must work together to continue to advance the University of Illinois as one of the pre-eminent public research universities in the country and the world," Farrell said. "This is a critical time for higher education in this country. It is an extremely competitive environment that we operate in. Everybody is recruiting top researchers and scholars to go along with attracting the top students in the country. We must work in a more strategic fashion on all fronts if we want to continue to elevate the University of Illinois and demonstrate our impact nationally and globally."
"We want to increase private support for the University of Illinois and have
it be more in line with the strategic direction and academic priorities of the University," Farrell said. "That is the most critical part of this plan. Our alumni and donors should have a vested interest in the success of the University of Illinois as we move forward."
Seven major gifts to benefit Urbana campus
Seven private gifts totaling more than $13 million earmarked for the U. of I's Urbana campus were announced Oct. 18 during the U. of I. Foundation's 78th annual meeting.
Six of the gifts were highlighted at the U. of I. Foundation's chancellor's dinner on Oct. 18:
- A new seven-figure deferred gift from James and Candace Frame, of Fletcher, N.C., to the College of Fine and Applied Arts in support of University Bands.
- $4 million from the Irwin Family Foundation to the College of Business to renovate the Surveying Building, which will be known as the Irwin Center for Doctoral Study in Business.
- A deferred gift of $5 million from Thomas W. and Mary Ellen O'Laughlin, of Champaign, will create the Thomas W. and Mary Ellen O'Laughlin Fund for the Center for Business and Public Policy in the College of Business.
- An outright gift of $1 million from Andrew Yang, of Los Gatos, Calif., will create the Andrew T. Yang Research Award to fund graduate student fellowships in the department of electrical and computer engineering in the College of Engineering.
- An outright gift of more than $1 million from Sanjay K. Srivastava, of Los Altos, Calif., through the Srivastava Foundation, will support construction of the new Electrical and Computer Engineering Building. The Senior Design Laboratory will be named in his honor.
- A $1 million outright gift from Richard K. Williams, of Cupertino, Calif., in support of the department of electrical and computer engineering, will support construction of the new ECE Building and endow the Richard K. Williams Professorship in Power Semiconductor Electronics.
Additionally, major support from Richard S. and Loan B. Hill, of Atherton, Calif., was announced at the foundation's business meeting Oct. 18. The Hills were recognized for their gift to establish scholarships in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the department of political science on the Urbana campus.
Also, the foundation recognized three major gifts to the U. of I. over the past few months:
- A five-year, $25 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the photosynthetic properties of key food crops, including rice and cassava. Illinois research will take place at the Institute for Genomic Biology.
- A 30-year, $60 million agreement from State Farm to renovate Assembly Hall, which has been renamed State Farm Center. The first major phase of the project is expected to begin in March 2014. State Farm Center is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2016-17 basketball season.
- A $100 million commitment from The Grainger Foundation of Lake Forest, Ill., that establishes the Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative. The initiative covers faculty chairs and named professorships, undergraduate scholarships, world-class facilities and support for research.