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Published August 02, 2016
The University of Wyoming has set a new single-year fundraising record, receiving $63.1 million in private support during the 2016 fiscal year.
UW’s previous record of $55.8 million was set in 2013. Private fundraising significantly enhances the university's ability to serve students and support programs that bring the margin of excellence to UW and to Wyoming.
“As I arrive at the University of Wyoming, it is wonderful to see the passion that the UW family shows for our school through their generous giving,” President Laurie Nichols says. “It was apparent to me, as I interviewed for the presidency, that the UW Foundation was a true strength and would facilitate the university’s ability to achieve even greater excellence. It is exciting to come at a time when this historic record has been set through leadership of the UW Foundation and its board. I would like to personally thank all those who gave so generously to the university.”
This is the first time in UW’s 130-year history that private giving has surpassed the $60 million mark. The 2016 fiscal year total is 13 percent higher than the previous record and reflects the philanthropy of 21,059 donors, including alumni, friends, staff, faculty, students, corporations and foundations. This brings UW’s five-year fundraising average to $51.1 million a year.
“Each and every year I am humbled by the outpouring of support that comes to Wyoming’s university from our alumni and friends,” says UW Foundation President Ben Blalock. “This includes our corporate and private foundation contributors. So many care so deeply for our school. All are committed to excellence.”
Moreover, an additional $20.3 million was realized this year as the result of the state of Wyoming matching program. This innovative program, unique to Wyoming, began in March 2001 with the mission of providing additional support to UW by encouraging private donations.
“This year was a phenomenal, record-breaking year for the University of Wyoming Foundation,” says April Brimmer Kunz, UW Foundation Board chair. “Thanks to the hard work of Ben Blalock and his staff, our private donors, the Wyoming Legislature and the governor, we have reached an amazing philanthropic goal.
“Sixty-three point one million dollars to help achieve the margin of excellence at the University of Wyoming -- that margin of excellence is always our goal. I also want to thank Scott Neu, who served as board chair during this record year. Scott is a dynamic UW volunteer leader who continues to give so much to make his alma mater exceptional.”
Included in the $63.1 million is $6.1 million in unrestricted annual giving, which achieved another exceptional year. Annual giving supports UW’s colleges and departments, and incorporates the fundraising success of Wyoming Public Media and the Cowboy Joe Club. Unrestricted gifts are critically important to UW because they can be used immediately to support student scholarships, faculty and programmatic needs.
In addition, planned giving plays a vital role in university support. Alumni and friends are remembering UW in their estate plans in ever-increasing numbers. In FY 2016, $9.4 million in planned gifts was realized in the form of gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, matured bequests, IRA rollover gifts and other planned giving vehicles.
Philanthropy provides Wyoming’s only four-year public university an important extra margin of support that builds upon the university’s state funding. The university’s endowment as of March 31, 2016, totals $426.79 million. Assets managed by the foundation have grown significantly over the years and have allowed donors to support an expanding number of students, faculty and academic programs.
As a result of private philanthropy, more than $40 million was distributed to the university in FY 2016. These distributions supported facilities; scholarships, grants and tuition awards; graduate assistantships; and faculty positions.
The university focuses its fundraising dollars through strategic fundraising priorities, which are established by the UW president in collaboration with the provost and deans, directors, faculty and staff; and approved by the UW Board of Trustees. These priorities are the areas of greatest opportunity with a commitment to emphasize distinction at UW in academics and athletics.
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.