$278.4 million donated to UI in fiscal 2017; $54M jump over 2016

$278.4 million donated to UI in fiscal 2017; $54M jump over 2016

URBANA — The University of Illinois pulled in $278.4 million in donations during fiscal 2017, a jump of almost $54 million over last year, the UI Foundation announced Thursday.

The UI's combined endowment also grew in value this past year, to $2.5 billion, helped by a 14.1 percent return on its investments in a strong financial market, officials said.

The news comes on the eve of the UI's public launch of its biggest fundraising drive in history, which has been ramping up in a "silent" phase for three years.

The figures were announced at the UI Foundation's annual business meeting Thursday at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, with about 450 donors, alumni and others on hand.

The $278.4 million includes cash gifts, pledge payments, annuities and estate distributions made during the year ending June 30, 2017, according to Christy Devocelle, chief financial officer of the UI Foundation.

That's up 23.8 percent from the $224.7 million collected in 2016. That 2016 total was a significant drop from the previous two years — $251.5 million in fiscal 2015 and $259.5 million in 2014.

Jim Moore, president and CEO of the foundation, said the total often fluctuates from year to year based on a few large gifts.

"We were fortunate this last year to have some pretty nice big gifts come in," he said, including estate gifts for faculty and student support and a major payment on the $25 million Siebel Center for Design funded by alumnus Thomas Siebel.

Moore said the news will create momentum going into the public phase of the UI's new fundraising campaign and help donors see the impact of their gifts.

"The timing couldn't be better," Moore said Thursday. "Development teams across the system have been working very hard at engaging donors and listening to things they are passionate about, and lining those up with the university's" needs.

The $278.4 million represents total giving to all three UI campuses.

The endowment had dropped from $2.5 billion to $2.43 billion last year, in part because of the market impact from the June 2016 "Brexit" vote.

This year's market upswing helped boost the endowment, Moore said. The 14.1 percent return on the UI's investment portfolio in fiscal 2017 was one of the best among similarly sized endowments across the country, Moore said.

"We certainly are experiencing a positive market in general. That is a significant contributor," Moore said. "We've also rebuilt the portfolio significantly over the past four or five years. We believe it's better positioned now to take advantage of opportune markets, and also better positioned to adjust to down times. It's just a lot more diverse."

Of the $278.4 million raised last fiscal year, foundations were the largest donor source at 26.0 percent, followed by alumni (23.0 percent), corporations (20.8 percent), and friends (12.1 percent). The category of "other sources" included 18.1 percent of the total."Philanthropy is the edge that makes the University of Illinois System a global leader in education and discovery, not just one of the pack," UI President Tim Killeen said in a release. "The generosity of our donors has helped build three best-in-class universities and a crucial pipeline of world-class talent and innovation that drives progress and prosperity."

Donors designated their gifts for the following purposes:

— $63.6 million for research.

— $55.3 million for facilities.

— $42.1 million for student support.

— $28.8 million for academic programs.

— $11.4 million for public service.

— $9.3 million for faculty support.

— $4 million for other areas.

Another $63.9 million was donated for unrestricted use at the discretion of the dean or department head.

The majority of the $278.4 million — 80.6 percent, or $224.3 million — was to be used during the current fiscal year. The rest was designated for endowment or annuity/life income funds.

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Reykjavik wrote on October 13, 2017 at 9:10 am

The report is good news for UIUC, and our community (where the proceeds are spent).  But we have some catching up to do.

Univ Michigan, around $10B

Univ Texas, around $25B

Univ. Virginia, around $6B

Texas A&M, around $11B

Univ. of Chicago, around $7B

Univ. Minn., around $3.5B

Data from Wikipedia