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UW Breaks Private Giving Record

August 5, 2011

Private giving to the University of Wyoming soared to a record $43.1 million for the fiscal year ending June 30, lifted by the stalwart support of UW's thousands of dedicated donors including alumni, friends, staff, faculty, students, corporations and foundations.

This is only the second time in the university's 125-year history that giving has surpassed the $40 million mark. The previous record was FY 2008, when UW raised just over $43 million. The FY 2011 total includes the contributions of 24,018 donors and brings the UW five-year fundraising average to more than $38 million a year.

An additional $3.4 million was committed through state-matching funds as a direct result of private giving. 

"This level of support from UW's alumni and friends is unprecedented and simply extraordinary," says UW President Tom Buchanan. "I can't overstate my appreciation for the continued generosity of our public and private donors. Their contributions strengthen the very foundation of the university, and it would be impossible for us to be one of the best public land-grant universities in the nation if not for their ongoing support."

"This year's fundraising accomplishments reflect the confidence our donors and alumni have in the leadership of UW and our shared belief that they can make a real difference for our students and faculty," says UW Board of Trustees President Jim Neiman. "The future is bright for the university as we continue to grow with the tremendous support of our alumni, friends, partners in industry and the state."

As part of the $43.1 million, annual giving surpassed $5 million for the first time. Annual giving includes all unrestricted gifts that support UW's colleges and departments and includes the fundraising success of Wyoming Public Media and the Cowboy Joe Club. UW Foundation annual giving reaches all UW alumni, parents, faculty, staff and friends on a yearly basis. Through annual giving's Cowboy Call, enthusiastic students contact alumni, parents, and friends to reconnect, establish and maintain relationships.

"The University of Wyoming has a remarkable story to tell. Our alumni and friends want to be active participants in the success story -- and they are," says UW Foundation President Ben Blalock. "The UW family is a passionate group.  Private gifts to the University of Wyoming play a critical role in the advancement of our state's university."

"At year end, many of us take stock of the many blessings in our lives and engage in giving to people and causes that matter in our lives," says UW Foundation Board Chair Greg Dyekman. "Our education at the University of Wyoming is one of those blessings. We can all help make a difference for current and future students with our generous year-end gifts to UW."

Philanthropy provides UW an important extra margin of support that builds upon the university's public funding. The university's endowment now totals more than $303 million. Assets managed by the UW Foundation have grown significantly over the years and have allowed donors to support an expanding number of students, faculty and academic programs during times when many universities have had to cut back.

In addition to the endowment, the UW Foundation manages cash, reserve balances, charitable remainder unitrusts and gift annuities and outright gifts. It also reconnects alumni and friends of Wyoming with their alma mater, serves as a charitable planning resource and actively stewards donors' contributions.

Planned giving plays a vital role in university support, and alumni and friends are remembering UW in their estate plans in ever-increasing numbers.  In FY 2011, $4.5 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, $12.5 million of new bequest commitments were pledged to the university during the same time period.

UW focuses its fundraising dollars through Institutional Fundraising Priorities, which are established by the UW president in collaboration with the provost and deans, directors, faculty and staff. The priorities are initiatives that build upon UW's areas of distinction, focus on UW's constituencies and both broaden and deepen areas of expertise.

These priorities are also closely integrated with the university's six areas of distinction, which are broad categories of academic inquiry and curriculum in which UW has both an existing foundation in faculty expertise and a commitment to sustained and increasing prominence. They include critical areas of science and technology; cultural assets, arts, and humanities; environment and natural resources; history and culture of the Rocky Mountain region; life sciences; and professions critical to the state and region.

"It is exciting to see that the public/private partnership with the University of Wyoming is more firmly in place today than ever before," says Blalock. "Hitting a new high for annual giving in a single year is another important statement regarding the commitment of our alumni and friends -- which includes foundations and corporations -- have for the University of Wyoming's success. UW's success is a catalyst for increased private giving."

The university and the UW Foundation continue to build on their strong strategic partnerships, matching donors' passions with university priorities.

About the UW Foundation -- Founded in 1962, the University of Wyoming Foundation is an independent nonprofit corporation dedicated to securing, managing, and stewarding private gifts in support of the University of Wyoming's missions in teaching, research, and public service. Because UW is the state's premier four-year institution of higher education, private support from alumni and friends has never been more important.

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