Private Gifts to University of Illinois Increase by 22 Percent Over Previous Year - Total Endowment Grows to $1.787 Billion

Sep 15, 2006 10:00 AM

Gifts to the University of Illinois and the U of I Foundation for the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2006, totaled $184.9 million, increasing by more than $33 million over the previous year, according to Stephen K. Rugg, U of I chief financial officer and treasurer of the U of I Foundation. Of the $184.9 million received, $40.9 million was subscribed to the U of I directly and $144.0 million was contributed through the U of I Foundation.

Rugg announced the private gift figures during the business session of the Foundation’s 71st Annual Meeting, held today (Friday, Sept. 15). The Foundation is the private gift procurement arm of the University of Illinois.

Of the $184.9 million in private support received last fiscal year, $64.3 million, or 35 percent, came from alumni and friends, $50.5 million (27 percent) was from corporations, $47.7 million (26 percent) was from foundations and $22.4 million (12 percent) was from associations.

Private gifts support a number of programs across the campuses at Chicago, Springfield, and Urbana-Champaign. For the fiscal year, $49.3 million of the $184.9 million raised was added to the endowment—an increase of nearly $19 million over the preceding year. Student financial aid in the form of scholarships, fellowships and student loans received $3.2 million in contributions. Donors to the University of Illinois provided over $28 million to academic divisions, $43.4 million for research, $10.1 million for buildings and equipment, $16.0 million for public service and extension, and $2.3 million for faculty and staff compensation. Gifts to U of I athletics at all three campuses increased slightly over the preceding year to $7.6 million.

Of the $184.9 million received last year, 68 percent or $126.4 million was designated by donors for current use. Those funds provided support to a number of programs across all of the University campuses. Twenty-seven percent or $49.3 million was invested in endowed funds, which are held in pooled investment accounts under the policy supervision of the Investment Policy Committee of the Foundation Board and the Finance and Audit Committee of the University Board of Trustees. Earnings from endowed funds help support an array of University endeavors, including student financial aid, faculty and programs. Such investments from gifts of $9.2 million also provide specified annuity and life-income funds for many donors.

The University of Illinois’s combined active and deferred endowment stood at $1.787 billion as of June 30, 2006. The active endowment, which represents 70 percent of the University’s endowment picture, grew to $1.252 billion by the end of last June.

Also included in the U of I’s total endowment is $394.9 million designated as revocable deferred gifts. Another $139.7 million of the endowment is in charitable trusts and other irrevocable gifts held by the U of I Foundation and others.

The Foundation’s endowment goal is to provide a distribution to the University each year to meet its spending needs coupled with a desire to protect the purchasing power of the endowment against inflation. Over the past 10 years, the investment return allowed the Foundation not only to meet the spending and inflation objectives, but also permitted a net real return to the endowment of 3.6 percent.

Growth of the endowment over the past decade, Rugg said, has enhanced many important academic efforts at the University of Illinois. For instance, the library’s endowment has risen from $13.6 million in 1996 to $31.9 million as of June 30 this year. Endowment for professorships has increased from $29.9 million to over $86.9 million. Graduate fellowships have climbed from $24.9 to $79.2 million. Endowed chairs have soared from $42.3million ten years ago to $138.6 million by the end of Fiscal Year 06. And undergraduate scholarships and student aid endowment jumped from $49.1 million to $170.5 million over the past ten years.

“Total market returns,” Rugg said, “combined with new-gift development have produced a total endowment today that is nearly two and one-half times what it was ten years ago, rising from $729.7 million to $1.786 billion. That translates to total endowment growth of 9 percent annually over the past decade.”

Foundation President Sidney S. Micek noted a key area and challenge of private giving. “Engagement with, and interest in, annual giving has increased at Illinois, and online giving to the annual funds this past year also grew, reaching $2.6 million. Nonetheless, while annual giving support for the University has increased, by comparison we do not currently have the level of participation from our donor or alumni base that other peer universities have. And we encourage everyone’s continued commitment to successfully address this challenge.”