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Meeting Minutes - December 3, 2013

The meeting provided information about the UM Foundation and the Investing in Student Success fundraising program.

Shane Giese, Foundation president and CEO, described the Foundation as a 501C3 entity that is not technically part of UM. It’s an organization focused on support of UM. He says the Foundation has a $5 million budget and returns to UM (on average) about $15 million per year. “We are a donor-directed organization,” he says. “Donors have control over where their money will be used.”

Giese says the Foundation answers to a 40-person Board of Trustees that meets twice a year. The organization works on planned giving, “tax-wise giving,” estate planning and an annual giving program. He talked about how Foundation reps are embedded with many units on campus.

An Invest in Student Success video was shown.

Sharon O’Hare, associate VP for enrollment and student success, gave a presentation. “We are all involved with student success,” she said. “At our core, that’s what we all do.” She said 43 percent of UM students qualify for Pell grants. She said the average Montana student graduates with $23,894 in loan debt. She spoke of certain 2020 goals, such as having 30 percent of undergraduates involved in research and 1,000 receive funded graduate assistantships.

Sharon said two of the chief indicators for student success in college are high school GPAs and how well students perform in their first math class.

Cindy Williams, Foundation VP for development, talked about some recent prominent donations to the University. She invited all University Council attendees to get to know the development officer in their respective programs.

Keith Kuhn, Foundation executive VP for finance and operations, discussed the “world of endowment giving.” He said the Foundation has 918 endowments – 657 of those are for scholarships and 261 are programmatic. “We are a donor-enabling organization,” he says. He said donors provided more than $11 in direct spending last year. The Foundation has $145 million in its long-term investment portfolio. He said the goal is always to earn 6 ¼ percent plus inflation on investments. If they perform better than that, it goes back into the endowment.

Provost Perry Brown concluded the meeting by saying, “The Foundation facilitates donations, but YOU [in this room] are the fundraisers. It’s a partnership.” He also said that the student success fundraising campaign is going fairly well right now.