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Philanthropic Support Boosts UW’s Endowment Past a Major Milestone

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The story of the University of Wyoming’s philanthropic support does not end with a yearly total. It encompasses an exponentially expanding endowment that will propel Wyoming’s university into the future, advancing private funding in support of UW’s strategic plan Breaking Through: 2017–2022.

In 2017, the University of Wyoming’s endowment surpassed half-a-billion dollars.  The endowment total now stands at $513.7 million.  To put this remarkable achievement into perspective, in 1999, UW’s endowment was $105 million.

Thanks to the visionary leadership of the UW Foundation Board of Directors, UW’s enthusiastic alumni and friends, and the Wyoming Legislature’s support through state matching funds, UW’s endowment is by far the largest among schools in the Mountain West Conference—even those with three times UW’s student enrollment.

“The University of Wyoming’s endowment is key to realizing our five-year strategic plan, Breaking Through: 2017-2022,” says University of Wyoming President Laurie Nichols.  “UW’s passionate and dedicated supporters have invested significantly to develop margins of excellence around key strategic goals.”

“Having a half-billion-dollar endowment is remarkable for a university of our size,” President Nichols continues.  “I thank everyone who gave of their resources so we might support students, faculty, and programs and build state-of-the-art facilities. With ongoing support like this, our future is bright.” 

During fiscal year 2018, ending June 30, the University of Wyoming raised a total of $51.8 million, bringing the university’s five-year annual fundraising average to $52.6 million. The UW Foundation received gifts and commitments from 22,111 individuals, corporations, and foundations.

Private giving is critical to advancing the University of Wyoming.  Students are supported by scholarships made possible by private philanthropy.  Faculty receive funding to better educate Wyoming’s students, to perform cutting-edge research in world-class facilities, and to collaborate with others across the globe.  Athletic facilities and programs are dependent on private support.   

Million-dollar-plus gifts this year include those from the following donors: Ole and Iris Carlson for geology and geophysics, Dave and Cory Le Norman for petroleum engineering, Jim and Jill Anderson for graduate scholarships in agriculture and geology and geophysics, Anne Mears for the UW Geological Museum, Lois Mottonen for business scholarships, Jim Ehernberger for the American Heritage Center, Drilling Systems for engineering, and Richard O’Gara for business scholarships.

“Congratulations to the University of Wyoming Foundation on another very impressive year of fundraising,” says April Brimmer Kunz, outgoing chair of the UW Foundation Board of Directors. “CEO Ben Blalock, his senior management team, and the staff have done it again. It is wonderful to know that the impact of your efforts will span decades for the University of Wyoming.”

UW focuses its private giving initiatives on identified strategic fundraising priorities. These priorities are approved by the UW Board of Trustees and the UW president. The university’s Trustees and president place an emphasis on greatest opportunities to partner with donors to strengthen UW’s commitment to excellence—elevating its programs to prepare students for academic and professional success.

“Under the leadership of UW President Laurie Nichols, the importance of private giving to UW is growing,” says Ben Blalock, president/CEO of the UW Foundation. “It is rewarding to observe the excitement our alumni and friends have for Wyoming’s university.  Clearly Laurie’s vision for our school is igniting our donor base.  There is no doubt Laurie has struck a chord with the UW family that ‘The World Needs More Cowboys.’”

UW’s annual giving program achieved more than $6.5 million this past year. These unrestricted gifts play a key revenue role by providing discretionary funding opportunities for academic and athletics leaders to advance programs across the UW campus. In addition, over $360,000 was raised in a single day—on UW Giving Day, which occurs annually on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving. 

Once again, planned giving played a vital role in university support, as alumni and friends remembered UW in their estate plans in ever-increasing numbers. In FY 2018, almost $11.8 million in planned gifts were realized or received in the form of gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, matured bequests, IRA rollover gifts, and other planned giving vehicles. In addition, $14.9 million of new bequest commitments were pledged to the university during the same time period.

UW and the UW Foundation continue to build on their strong strategic partnerships, matching donors’ passions with university priorities. Founded in 1962, the UW Foundation is an independent nonprofit corporation dedicated to securing, managing, and stewarding private gifts in support of the university’s missions in teaching, research, and public service. In addition to its fundraising responsibilities to support the university, the UW Foundation and its Board of Directors oversee the university’s private investment assets.

PHOTO:
Fireworks behind the statue Breakin' Through, which stands near the Marian H. Rochelle Gateway Center.

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