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Forever Grateful

The world is changing rapidly, but some things remain the same.

First and foremost, the UW Foundation is enormously grateful to the University of Wyoming’s legion of loyal supporters. We could not do what we do without you, and neither could Wyoming’s university.

Adapt and Overcome

The UW Foundation holds fast to its guiding principles of quality, integrity, creativity, and purpose. So does the University of Wyoming. Its values of unwavering integrity, unshakeable determination, unyielding courage, and unbendable optimism will allow it to adapt and overcome—to continue to effectively serve the state and tomorrow’s students.

The university moved quickly and capably to adapt to social distancing. In the midst of the spring semester, classes transitioned to an online format using WyoCourses, with spring break extended by only one week. A majority of faculty and staff began working remotely, and everything from book clubs to advising moved online. The year was successfully concluded with an online commencement featuring Coach Craig Bohl.

The UW community has jumped into action and come together to support those in need—students hard hit by the COVID-19 crisis, students and professors rapidly shifting to digital teaching and learning, health care workers in need of supplies and telehealth services, parents trying to cope with working from home while overseeing their children’s online educations, and the worldwide scientific community in its pursuit of the causes and effects of the pandemic. Even the general public is inspired by UW Institutional Marketing’s uplifting yard sign campaign.

Pokes Make the Difference

Of particular note is the Pokes Make the Difference Student Emergency Fund, a private support campaign established to help UW students facing financial hardship due to the COVID-19 crisis. On April 1, UW Acting President Neil Theobald announced the campaign, a collaborative effort of units across campus—ASUW, the UW Administration, and the UW Foundation, among others. ASUW Sustainability Coalition Co-Chairs Addison Marr and Caitlin McLennan worked with UW Administration to propose the fund, to research best practices at other institutions, and to develop inspirational messaging alongside the UW Foundation to help promote the campaign, and ASUW President Jason Wilkins helped shepherd the campaign from start to finish.

The UW Foundation set up the campaign on You Fund, UW’s crowdfunding site, and promoted it on social media, along with units across campus. In just 15 days, the campaign raised $250,000 that secured an added $250,000 in matching 5 funds provided by the leadership of the UW Foundation Board of Directors. Additional gifts over the initial $250,000 were incentivized by UW President’s Office matching funds. On April 30, 464 gifts had raised $555,448, all of which goes directly to students.

The UW Dean of Students Office received 914 applications from students for this emergency funding. To qualify, students had to be currently enrolled as a degreeseeking full-time or part-time undergraduate or graduate student at the University of Wyoming and must be experiencing unexpected financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. Students were awarded up to $1,000 each.

The Power of Philanthropy

The University of Wyoming has been around for 134 years, since before Wyoming was a state. It has had many ups and downs— from its founding with just 5 faculty and 42 students to World War I and the Spanish Flu pandemic, from the campus building boom of the 1940s to “world champion” basketball in 1943, from notable alums like W. Edwards Deming and Susan Pamerleau making a huge impact on the world to energy booms and busts.

We’ve been through the fire and returned with unwavering integrity and unshakeable determination, with unyielding courage and unbendable optimism. And you’ve been right there with us.

The UW Foundation adapts each and every day. Operating in this new normal requires an unwavering commitment to flexibility and the keen awareness that we, as an organization, are willing and able to adapt to the challenges we see today and the new ones tomorrow. The importance of our work is rock solid—we work tirelessly to lift up the University of Wyoming with the power of philanthropy.

Private giving to the University of Wyoming during fiscal year 2020 totaled $43.6 million, with a five-year fundraising average of more than $50 million. The $585.9 million total endowment consists of 1,589 endowments that directly support UW’s teaching, service, research, and outreach.

Despite the challenges, FY 2020 was another successful year in raising private support for UW while also strengthening the university through prudent investment and financial management. The public-private partnership of the university and its donors helps ensure that the University of Wyoming has the resources necessary to continue to honor Wyoming’s trust.

We deeply appreciate your unwavering commitment to your university and our shared future. If you have questions regarding this report, please contact us at or (307) 766-6300 or tollfree (888) 831-7795. On behalf of the University of Wyoming Foundation we want to express to you our sincerest appreciation for your generosity.

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