University of Nebraska Foundation marks record year

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Multiple records were broken in the sixth year breaking $100 million in gifts to the foundation

Alumni and friends of the University of Nebraska demonstrated their generosity this year by giving the most private support in history.

Donors gave more than $172.1 million to the University of Nebraska Foundation during the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, making it the best year ever in its 75-year history. More than $130.2 million was transferred to the university’s statewide system during the same period, also representing a record.

This is the sixth consecutive year annual gifts to the foundation exceeded $100 million. The previous best year was 2008 when $166.5 million was given.

The table below shows results over the last five years:







$172.1 M

$136.9 M

$128.1 M

$166.5 M

$104.7 M



$130.2 M

$107.2 M

$102.8 M

$130.1 M

$89.5 M


$1.7 B

$1.5 B

$1.4 B

$1.6 B

$1.6 B

“This is truly a remarkable achievement by the many people, companies and organizations who show they care very much about the mission and academic quality of the University of Nebraska,” said Nancy Keegan of Los Angeles, chair of the University of Nebraska Foundation board of directors. “We cannot thank them enough for making this impressive investment in Nebraska’s higher education.”

This is the fourth consecutive year more than $100 million in private funds was transferred to the university from the foundation. Funds transferred benefit areas as designated by the donors. More than $23.6 million was provided for student support; $5.1 million for faculty support; $7.1 million for research; $30.4 million for academic programs; $5.1 million for museums, libraries and fine arts programs; $57.9 million for campus and capital improvements; and $1 million to support the four university alumni associations.

Funds transferred from the foundation helped to make the financial burden of attending college easier for many students, Keegan said, and about 10,000 scholarships were awarded across the university for the 2010-2011 academic year.

The market value of the foundation’s total assets was $1.7 billion on June 30, also a record, and represents a 17.7 percent increase from last year. The foundation’s main endowment realized a return of 22.6 percent for the year; this performance ranked among the top 9 percent of major institutional endowments in the nation.

Campaign for Nebraska passes $1 billion in gifts

Gifts to the foundation this fiscal year also supported the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities, the University of Nebraska’s comprehensive fundraising initiative. Gifts to the campaign have now exceeded $1 billion toward the goal of raising $1.2 billion by 2014 to meet high-priority opportunities and needs of the university. The campaign started in 2005.

“During this campaign, an impressive 33,000 individuals and organizations have given to the university for the very first time,” said Clarence Castner, president of the University of Nebraska Foundation. “The priorities of the university have captured their attention. More than 69,000 households and organizations have contributed so far, and nearly 60 percent are from Nebraska. So far their generosity has established nearly 3,000 new funds to benefit the university, in many cases in perpetuity.”

Castner said the highest campaign priority, as established by university leadership, is to help ensure the university remains accessible by increasing private support for student financial aid and student global engagement opportunities. Increasing support focused on retaining and recruiting top faculty members is a priority as well. The campaign also focuses on areas where the university has the greatest potential to excel, including cancer research and treatment; agriculture and life sciences; water and natural resources; early childhood education; information technology; and architectural engineering and construction.

A sample of major campaign projects and gifts over the past year, including outright gifts and gifts pledged over time, include:

Leadership gift from Susie Buffett to create the Buffett Early Childhood Institute

Leadership gift from the Robert B. Daugherty Charitable Foundation to create the Daugherty Water for Food Institute.

$1 million from World’s Foremost Bank for a UNL student scholarship endowment

$1.2 million from Sally and Wil Hergenrader for engineering faculty support at UNL

Leadership gift from Ruth and Bill Scott to renovate Roskens Hall, the new home for the UNO College of Education

$1 million from Shirley and Jim Young for scholarships helping low-income students at UNO

An endowed scholarship from the Milton E. Steinkruger estate to provide $13,000 a year for UNK students

$150,000 from the Mary Elaine House estate to support the UNK music program

$1.2 million gift commitment from the Charles R. O’Malley Charitable Lead Trust to support faculty in the UNMC School of Allied Health Professions

Leadership gift from Stanley and Dorothy Truhlsen toward the $30 million Truhlsen Eye Institute at UNMC

For more information about the University of Nebraska Foundation’s annual report and audited financial statements, go to

The University of Nebraska Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization raising private gifts to support the University of Nebraska since 1936. In 2011, the foundation provided the university a record $130.2 million in private funding for scholarships, medical research and support for faculty and academic programs. In October of 2009, the foundation announced the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities, a $1.2 billion comprehensive fundraising campaign—the largest in the university’s history.

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