Foundation Overview

Established in 1935, the University of Illinois Foundation is an independent Illinois not-for-profit membership corporation registered with the state of Illinois. 

Its corporate mission is to advance the interests and welfare of the University. As stated in its Articles of Incorporation, the role of the University of Illinois Foundation is procuring private support on behalf of the University. The Foundation functions as the independent official fundraising and private gift-receiving agency for the University of Illinois. 

The Foundation works hand-in-hand with the president of the University of Illinois System and the chancellor for each university to identify strategic private support priorities, create suitable fundraising strategies and tactics, and implement and evaluate appropriate development programs. 

The Foundation operates through a professional staff under the direction of the President who is appointed by the UIF Board of Directors. Together, the president and the UIF board provide leadership and direction to guide the Foundation’s activities. 

Each university also has its own development or advancement office, whose overall efforts are directed by a designated chief leadership officer. This individual acts as the principal fundraising officer for the specific university represented; they have a dual reporting relationship, heading both the university office of development or advancement and acting as a vice president of the Foundation, so they act as a liaison between the Foundation and the specific university that they serve. Development professionals throughout the university community represent donors during the giving process and serve as stewards of their generosity. 

In its role of developing private gifts, the Foundation leads the effort to plan and mount special fundraising initiatives, as well as annual giving programs and major capital campaigns, working in collaboration with a network of University development professionals. The Foundation provides wide-ranging leadership and assistance to each campus relative to fundraising responsibilities that require specialized subject matter expertise, including areas such as campaign planning and deployment, donor relations, annual giving, gift planning, trust services, marketing, and events management. 

Foundation personnel also have extensive expertise in matters of taxation, investments, estate planning and financial management, especially as they relate to the benefits associated with charitable giving. Foundation professionals also assist donors and their advisers in structuring tax-sensitive gifts through the gift planning and trust services office, so that donors are in a better position to make informed decisions about their charitable giving. The emphasis is on accommodating a donor’s personal and family priorities while permitting them to provide support to the University of Illinois.