UI analyzing fundraising campaign

UI analyzing fundraising campaign

Congratulations, you've raised $2.43 billion.

Now what?

With the University of Illinois' largest fundraising campaign officially wrapped up, development personnel are in the midst of conducting a post-campaign analysis: reviewing numbers to learn more about who donated, which programs received donations, where university resources, including staffing, should be devoted in the coming years. And of course, when will the next campaign be?

The Brilliant Futures campaign may have ended, but that doesn't mean the university will take a break from asking alumni, friends, corporations and foundations for money. Especially since state appropriations to the university are not expected to bounce back from a long-term downward trend.

"Fundraising is an ongoing business," said outgoing UI Foundation President Sidney Micek.

(For the record, Micek supposes 2017, when the university will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its charter, would be a fine year for a new campaign kickoff. But nothing's been finalized yet.)

Now that the campaign has ended, the university also is focusing efforts on finding a replacement for Micek, who steps down as the foundation's president at the end of this year to become a part-time adviser, and hiring other key personnel, including Vice Chancellor for Institutional Advancement James Schroeder, who retires this summer.

As part of the post-campaign analysis, the UI Foundation is considering what the "big areas of need will be" in the coming years and where the university will find resources to help underwrite those areas, Micek said.

With an annual budget of approximately $5 billion, the university essentially relies on five different sources for money: state appropriations, student tuition, grants, commercialization of technology and philanthropy.

"We think private support is going to increase in part because state support has decreased in a relative sense," he said.

With a huge burden already on the student because of increasing tuition rates and a financially strapped state not likely to up its contributions, UI Vice President and Urbana Chancellor Phyllis Wise said she expects to spend more of her time on development now that she has filled several key administrative positions in the chancellor and provost's office.

Her emphasis will be on further developing relations with corporations, which can donate money to the university for student scholarships and can turn to the university to conduct research and development that the company previously would have conducted in-house.

Another goal, as the university accepts and graduates more international students, is to connect more with those students after they leave the Urbana campus, she said.

Private colleges and universities have relied on private giving since their early days (and they have the hefty endowments to show that), and the privates handle fundraising very well, Wise said.

Leaders of public universities now realize that public universities may serve their states and their state's needs and accept a majority of students from those states, "but we're on a private financial model or are headed in that direction. We have to do the planning now so we're not in crisis mode four to five years from now," Wise said.

This story appeared in print on June 24.


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