University Foundation

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University Foundation

The presentation I choose to summarize is Greg Gissendanner’s presentation on the university foundation. Like most of the other presentations in class, Greg used the standard outline of presenting the unit’s history, mission, organizational structure, funding and financial concerns, and current issues.

History. Greg showed that while many foundations look fairly similar today, the history of foundation development took on many different forms at different institutions. Greg’s primary examples of Harvard and Rutgers compared stories of how each foundation got its start with early donations (in a foreign currency!) as well as donations of other types – those that we might call in-kind today. These donations of materials and labor were instrumental in getting these two institutions the boost they needed for their continuing growth.

Mission. Greg went on to define a “shared” mission statement of university foundations in general. This shared mission, securing gifts and grants, maximizing donor interest and commitment, and distribution of gifts to the university community, came from five specific mission statements which Greg then shared with the class. These individual mission statements while variable, all seemed to contain this shared definition within them even though they came from a variety of large public institutions. It would have been interesting to compare these with the mission of some smaller publics and also private institutions.

Organizational Structure. Greg used a nice technique to discuss the organization structures of university foundations. Instead of just showing several examples, he asked the class to take a look at two universities which he had outlined some basic characteristics such as enrollment, location, cost of tuition, age of institution and endowment. He then asked us how we thought each of their foundations would be organized. It was a good tactic to make us think about what factors might affect the organization of a foundation and why. He went on to give details and his own explanation of why the foundations were organized the way they were.

Funding and Financial Concerns. Next Greg discussed how the university foundation is typically funded. He explained that the foundation typically has five funding streams, endowment management fees, unrestricted gifts, gift fee, investment income fee, and a university services fee.
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