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Oct. 24, 2008
Contact: Lisa Scheller, KU Endowment, (785) 832-7398.

Donors to KU break fundraising record

LAWRENCE — The University of Kansas benefited from record-breaking support from private donors in fiscal year 2008.

KU Endowment distributed $112.1 million in support to KU’s four campuses in fiscal year 2008, which ended June 30, including a 15 percent increase in student support over the 2007 fiscal year. More than 6,500 students receive support from KU Endowment funds.

Student support (scholarships, fellowships, awards and loans) grew from $27.9 million last year to $32.2 million. Over the past five years, student support has increased steadily, totaling $136.3 million. Donors created 43 new endowed scholarships in fiscal year 2008, with gifts totaling $12.3 million. These scholarships will benefit students in perpetuity.

The amount of money raised, the amount distributed to KU and the number of donors were the highest in KU Endowment’s 117-year history.

Donors gave a total of $94 million in outright gifts and pledges, a 21 percent increase over fiscal year 2007. An additional $11.1 million came in the form of deferred gifts, which will benefit KU in the future. The number of donors totaled 45,014, breaking the previous record of 43,400, set last year.

“We are humbled by the generosity of our donors,” said Dale Seuferling, president of KU Endowment. “Every gift, large and small, expresses their belief in KU.”

Private gifts provide a margin of excellence at KU, helping it achieve distinction among the nation’s top universities. Donors fund virtually all scholarships for deserving students. Their gifts also help recruit acclaimed faculty through professorships and awards; support innovative programs; enable construction of facilities; and fund promising research.

Seuferling added that the unprecedented amount of support KU Endowment transferred to the university — $112 million — is a powerful demonstration that the endowment’s spending policies are serving the university well.

“We continue to maximize spending while remaining vigilant to protect the value of the endowment for future generations,” he said.

Despite the difficult financial environment, investment performance declined by just 2.6 percent as of June 30. The decline was modest compared to a loss of more than 13 percent in the Standard & Poor’s 500 and the general economic downturn. The market value of endowed funds totaled $1.22 billion. KU Endowment invests its endowed funds in a diversified portfolio with a long-term perspective.

“We remain confident in our investment strategy,” Seuferling said. “These are volatile times in the stock market, but we intend to stay the course. The diversification of our investments protects us; when the market turns around we will be positioned to benefit.”

The single largest area of distributions from KU Endowment — $40 million — was for facilities. That amount fluctuates depending on the university’s construction projects. A new policy of the Kansas Board of Regents stipulates that universities must identify funding for maintenance of new construction projects.

KU Endowment announced the results today at the annual meeting of its Board of Trustees.

Other highlights for fiscal year 2008 include:

— Of the 45,014 people who made gifts, 7,932 were first-time donors, and 25,854 were Kansas residents.

— Support for faculty totaled $19.6 million. KU Endowment provides funding for more than 80 professorships at KU. Donors established 11 new professorships, which help attract and retain top scholars and researchers.

— Three major construction projects were completed, thanks to private donors: the Anderson Family Football Complex, Krehbiel Scholarship Hall and the Sabatini Multicultural Resource Center. This continues a long-standing tradition of private giving, which has provided more than two-thirds of campus buildings and 85 percent of the land for expansion.

— Annual telephone and mail campaigns raised a record $4.59 million, a 14 percent increase from last year. The average gift from annual donors was $117.65, compared to $111.40 in fiscal 2007.

Since its founding in 1891, KU Endowment has provided $1.5 billion in support to KU. It is the independent, nonprofit organization serving as the official fundraising and fund-management foundation for KU.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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