2018 fiscal year highlights news

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University of Nebraska receives $186 million in gifts in 2017-18

The University of Nebraska Foundation announced that alumni and friends gave $186 million in gifts and pledges to support the University of Nebraska during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2018, in support of all areas of the statewide system.

“We’re incredibly grateful to the nearly 44,000 alumni, friends and organizations who gave, demonstrating just how much they value the university’s vital role to our students and our state,” said JoAnn Martin, chair of the NU Foundation board of directors and CEO of Ameritas.

The foundation’s total endowment was $1.7 billion which is ranked in the top-25 among the endowments of public universities. Nearly all contributors to the foundation — 99 percent — restrict their gifts to a specific purpose and cause at the university.

The foundation’s total assets, which includes endowed funds, cash holdings and other assets, were $2.5 billion.

Its financial statements are audited independently by KPMG, and the report is available at nufoundation.org/annualreports.

During the foundation’s past fiscal year, its student-focused initiative called Our Students, Our Future concluded on Dec. 31, 2017. Gifts of $217 were donated over a two-year period for scholarships, libraries, academic facilities and other areas that directly benefit students.

“It was another year of remarkable generosity from our donors,” said Hank Bounds, president of the University of Nebraska. “Together we are changing the lives of students, we’re continuing to expand our research and we’re continuing to recruit and retain the most talented faculty and staff. We’re building facilities where the very best in teaching, learning and patient care can take place. Because of you, the University of Nebraska is strong and growing.”

Examples of privately funded projects and programs recognized during 2017-18 include:

  • The University of Nebraska at Kearney celebrated a $1.9 million estate gift from Robert Sahling of Kearney for permanently endowed student scholarship support, adding to scholarship support from the Sahling family over the years.
  • The University of Nebraska-Lincoln opened Howard L. Hawks Hall as the new home of the College of Business. At 240,000 square-feet and a cost of $84 million, it represents the largest privately-funded educational facility on campus.
  • The University of Nebraska at Omaha began construction of an addition to the Biomechanics Research Building to further develop its leading reputation in this scientific area and started the expansion and renovation of the Willis S. and Janet A. Strauss Performing Arts Center.
  • Omaha art teacher and businessman Gerald “Jerry” Pabst donated $3 million in an estate gift for permanent endowments to support cancer research and patient care at the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center in Omaha at the Nebraska Medicine and University of Nebraska Medical Center campus.

About the effect giving has on people, NU Foundation President and CEO Brian Hastings said, “The University of Nebraska Foundation had a successful year of growing the relationships and resources that enable the University of Nebraska to change lives and save lives.”

Financial results for 2017-18 were reported to the foundation’s trustees at their annual meeting on Oct. 19 in Lincoln. Other information provided included:

  • The foundation currently manages 11,397 funds established by donors to benefit the university.
  • The organization’s cost of fundraising is 15 cents per dollar raised, which is lower than that of many other public universities.
  • The foundation partners with the university’s more than 60 different academic and affiliated units across the state to assist with fundraising activities.
  • The foundation has partnerships with each of the university’s four alumni associations and assists in engaging the university’s 373,000 alumni around the world.

The foundation announced the recipients of its two highest service awards for 2018.

University of Nebraska President Emeritus James B. Milliken and his wife, Nana G. H. Smith of Austin, Texas, were awarded the Harlan J. Noddle Award for Distinguished Development Service in recognition of their role in helping to secure private support during their service to the university from 2004 to 2014.

Tonn and Holly Ostergard of Lincoln were awarded the Perry W. Branch Award for Distinguished Volunteer Service in recognition of their years of dedicated service to the foundation and the university. Both are longtime trustees of the foundation, and Tonn Ostergard is a past foundation board member and board chair. The Ostergards served on development committees during the university’s past two comprehensive campaigns led in the 1990s and 2000s.

The NU Foundation’s trustees also elected three new directors to its board: Robert L. Kelley of Scottsbluff, Angie L. Muhleisen of Lincoln and J. Scott Nelson of Lincoln. Dan Bahensky of Kearney and Rodrigo Lopez of Omaha were re-elected to serve another term on the board.

The following is a highlight of the foundation’s financials over the past five years:

Gifts received: $186 million
Total assets: $2.45 billion

Gifts received: $169.2 million
Total assets: $2.33 billion

Gifts received: $228.9 million
Total assets: $2.2 billion

Gifts received: $212.7 million
Total assets: $2.23 billion

Gifts received: $258.1 million
Total assets: $2.26 billion

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