Donors give record $236.7 million to University of Nebraska

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Alumni and friends gave $236.7 million to the University of Nebraska this year, making it the University of Nebraska Foundation’s best year ever for private gifts. This record represents a 43 percent increase over the last fiscal year and a 37 percent increase over the previous gift record of $172.1 million in 2011.

The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at UNMC, the Biomechanics Research Building at UNO, the Veterinary Diagnostic Center and College of Business Administration at UNL, and the Health Science Education Complex at UNK were among those receiving private support this year.

“The University of Nebraska is engaged in important work that matters to Nebraska and to the world,” said James B. Milliken, president of the University of Nebraska. “The foundation’s tremendous success in the past year will help us advance our work in areas like cancer research, early childhood development, agriculture and building Nebraska’s workforce. One important component has been our ability to leverage the support of the Nebraska Legislature in providing funds for several major initiatives that will benefit the state.”

The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, the Veterinary Diagnostic Center at UNL and the Health Science Education Complex at UNK all received commitments of appropriations from the Nebraska Legislature as long as private funds could also be raised. The cancer center also received county and city government support. Additional private funds must be raised to complete construction on the Veterinary Diagnostic Center and the UNK Health Science Education Complex; construction of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is underway.

“Donors are what make a record year possible,” said chairman of the board, Pete Whitted, M.D. “The University of Nebraska Foundation received terrific support from alumni and friends across the country who are making a difference on each and every campus. As a result, we are creating unlimited possibilities for students, for teaching, for research and for state-of-the-art learning environments at the University of Nebraska.”

Some donor gifts are endowed, with only the income transferred to the university year after year. In 2013, the total amount transferred to the university from the foundation was $174.7 million. Of that amount, nearly $94 million was designated by donors for campus construction or renovation projects, $21 million was provided for student scholarships and $45 million for direct support of academic programs.

Brian Hastings, the foundation’s CEO, praised the leadership of the University of Nebraska and the more than 800 foundation trustees and 300 volunteers involved in the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities—the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign—for the successful year.

“President Milliken and each of the four chancellors have put forth a vision for the University of Nebraska that is compelling to donors,” he said. “That message has been carried to alumni far and wide by our committed campaign volunteers. I am grateful for all they have done to make this the foundation’s best year ever, and for the difference they are making at the university and in this state.”

The foundation’s total assets, which include the endowment, cash holdings and other assets, totaled $1.9 billion. The foundation’s endowment realized a return of 12.9 percent.

The foundation’s fiscal year ended June 30; the financial statements were then audited by the foundation’s independent auditors, KPMG LLP. The auditor’s report can be found at

The audited financials and other business highlights for the year were shared Oct. 4, at the annual meeting of the University of Nebraska Foundation’s trustees. Tonn Ostergard, president and CEO of Crete Carrier of Lincoln, became the new chair of the board of directors and will serve through 2015. Mark Chronister of Bloomington, Minn., was named chair-elect. Chronister is a retired partner and former manager of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Minneapolis. John Gottschalk of Omaha received the Perry W. Branch Award, which is the foundation’s top volunteer service award. Paul Sather, director of the Service Learning Academy at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, received the Harlan J. Noddle Award, for service to development.

Note to media: the following table shows financial highlights from the last five years:






Gifts Received

$236.7 M

$164.9 M

$172.1 M

$136.9 M

$128.1 M



$174.7 M

$123.7 M

$130.2 M

$107.3 M

$102.8 M

Total Assets

$1.9 B

$1.8 B

$1.7 B

$1.5 B

$1.4 B

The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization raising private gifts to support the University of Nebraska for more than 77 years. In 2013, donors provided the university with $236.7 million for scholarships, medical and other research, academic programs, faculty support and facilities. The foundation’s comprehensive fundraising campaign, the Campaign for Nebraska, has raised more than $1.5 billion for the university and concludes in 2014. For more information, visit

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