CU celebrates best year ever for private support

$213.2 million in 2010-11 includes 11 percent rise for fundraising arm
By Staff

Stem cell research that helps burned skin heal and regenerate. Integrated mental health counseling for Pikes Peak region seniors at little or no cost. A Jewish Studies program that bridges past and present and promotes mutual understanding. A scholarship program that charts a course from high school through medical school, preparing diverse high achievers for practice in Colorado communities.

These are a few of the 1,800-plus areas at the University of Colorado this past year to receive more than $213.2 million in private support — the highest total in CU history, according to preliminary figures announced today. More than 47,000 donors made gifts during the 12 months ending June 30, 2011.

“Setting a record for private support in this difficult economy demonstrates the confidence our donors have not only in the university, its faculty and students, but also in the strong stewardship of the university’s fundraising arm, the CU Foundation,” said CU President Bruce D. Benson. “Private contributions allow us to enhance the quality of our academic programs, research and student experience, so we appreciate the generosity of all our donors.”

Nearly $102.4 million in gifts and grants were contributed through the CU Foundation — an 11 percent year-over-year increase, and the third-highest total in CU Foundation history.

The total also includes $110.8 million in private support channeled directly to CU, rather than the foundation. By including faculty-generated private contracts and grants in this total for the first time, the 2010-11 figure reflects common standards for U.S. higher education campaigns. In April, CU announced Creating Futures, a $1.5 billion fundraising campaign. (The revised 2009-10 figure for private support to CU is $205.9 million, and the revised figure for 2007-08 — previously announced as the highest total ever — is $205.5 million.)

Benson reinforced that private philanthropy does not replace the need for operational funds squeezed by declining state funding, as 98 percent of gifts are earmarked by donors for specific purposes.

Private support for CU has held up well despite the economic downturn, and its future looks notably strong because of a significant upward trend in estate gifts. The CU Foundation recorded more than $33 million last year in commitments made via an individual’s will, its highest total ever for the second consecutive year. These estate commitments are not counted in fiscal-year or Creating Futures campaign totals, but they indicate a strong pipeline for future support.

Among the impacts from giving throughout the university system:

  • Teaching and Learning: A gift from Cordillera Energy Partners executives George Solich (BS ’83, Boulder; MBA ’91, Denver) and Tad Herz will help launch a new Center for Commodities at the University of Colorado Denver. The first U.S. university center to provide a comprehensive education in commodities such as energy, minerals and agriculture, the center will be a showcase at the new Business School home set to open in 2012.
  • Discovery and Innovation: The Osborne Center for Science and Engineering at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs was named to honor the campus’s most generous individual donors in history, Ed and Mary Osborne.
  • Culture and Community: Ruth (JD ’72) and Ken Wright set up an endowment for University of Colorado Boulder physics students who plan to teach in K-12 schools, honoring CU-Boulder physics “founding father” Al Bartlett, and reflecting CU’s ambition to improve education in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
  • Health and Wellness: The Advancing Care Together program at the Anschutz Medical Campus will help integrate mental and physical health care, thanks to a grant from the Colorado Health Foundation, which supported 16 programs at CU this past year.


CU Foundation donors gave $46.9 million to the University of Colorado Boulder, $40.2 million to the Anschutz Medical Campus, $5.7 million to the University of Colorado Denver, and $6.9 million to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, in addition to $2.7 million in other gifts to the CU system.


In the coming years, CU will continue to aggressively pursue its $1.5 billion goal for the Creating Futures campaign, the most ambitious in CU history. Priority fundraising areas include:


  • Scholarships, endowed chairs, and professorships on all CU campuses.
  • Research programs, including an interdisciplinary, intercampus biotechnology initiative.
  • Buildings and infrastructure such as the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building in Boulder, the Health and Wellness Center on the Anschutz Medical Campus, the Business School in Denver and the Heller Center for Arts and Humanities in Colorado Springs.
  • Academic support such as a bachelor of innovation program in Colorado Springs, a precollegiate program in Denver and a Renewable and Sustainable Energy Initiative in Boulder.


“The support we’ve seen this year is a tribute to public confidence in the University of Colorado’s leaders and a reflection of the life-changing work CU’s faculty, staff and students pursue each day,” says J. Wayne Hutchens, president and CEO of the University of Colorado Foundation. “In a challenging budget environment, it is critical that CU build its endowments for the benefit of tomorrow’s students and Colorado’s citizens.”


On June 30, 2011, endowments held by the CU Foundation on behalf of CU totaled $781.2 million. The CU Foundation’s Long Term Investment Pool (LTIP), which includes the vast majority of these endowments, appreciated 19 percent for the most recent fiscal year. In the past seven years, the LTIP has appreciated about 8.5 percent annually, exceeding investment-committee benchmarks, and ranking the LTIP in the top 10 percent of peers over that period.