UI Foundation plans for new 'roadmap'

UI Foundation plans for new 'roadmap'

URBANA — The head of the University of Illinois Foundation on Friday unveiled several goals that will be part of a new strategy the fundraising organization will take on in the coming years.

UI Foundation President Tom Farrell, in his first address at the foundation's annual meeting, said a "roadmap" currently being developed will include goals such as doubling fundraising in the next seven to 10 years and doubling the endowment. Farrell joined the foundation in January.

Called the "Roadmap to a New Culture of Philanthropy and Engagement," the plan will have three key components, Farrell said. The first calls for a "sharp increase" in the foundation's engagement, which will include better and meaningful leadership activity, and efficiently and effectively getting out messages to alumni, friends and other donors, he said. The dialogue, he told donors in the audience, will also entail "seeing what you're thinking, not just what we're thinking."

In addition to doubling fundraising and the endowment, the foundation will also aim to boost alumni giving rates. The undergraduate annual giving rate for the Urbana campus is around 10 percent, 4 percent for Chicago and 6 percent for the Springfield campus. Of the approximately 637,000 UI alumni across the globe, about 47,000 support annual giving programs.

"We think we can do better," Farrell said.

The roadmap also calls for involving all the "stakeholders," not only chancellors and vice chancellors but deans, faculty, volunteers and more.

"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," Farrell said.

In addition to Farrell, the UI and the UI Foundation have welcomed several new people to top fundraising posts this year, including vice chancellors on the campuses, plus a chief investment officer.

In terms of fundraising, the UI and foundation are coming off a record-setting year.

At Friday's meeting UI Chief Financial Officer Walter Knorr, who also serves as treasurer for the foundation, outlined the financials for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.

The UI and the foundation raised $234.9 million in outright cash gifts, pledge payments, annuities/life income gifts and estate distributions. That amount was 11.5 percent higher than the previous year and set a record.

New business — a category which includes new gifts, pledges and deferred commitments — also set a record for the first time going over $400 million for a total of $434.9 million for the fiscal year.

Three significant gifts last year boosted those numbers: $100 million from the Grainger Foundation of Lake Forest to establish the Grainger Engineering Breakthroughs Initiative, to fund faculty chairs, scholarships, facilities and more; a 30-year, $60 million agreement with State Farm to help fund the Assembly Hall renovation and rename the building the State Farm Center; and a five-year, $25 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the photosynthetic properties of certain food crops.

As for the endowment for the UI and foundation, it stands at $1.93 billion.

Also at Friday's annual meeting, UI Foundation board member and UI graduate Mannie Jackson honored longtime fundraiser Bill Sturtevant who is retiring from the foundation at the end of the year.

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