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The Who and What of the UCM Foundation

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"Our challenge was to build the bridge between the faculty and staff and their donors," Webb notes.

"We also knew we had to create an awareness of this new concept of generating private funding while maintaining our responsibility to the deans to continue what they had started," Pendleton says. "We were able to create this separate entity for fundraising and investment of funds. It was a new experience for the university administration, but we were able to become that conduit, and we created an increased layer of credibility."

Horner's then assistant, Jack Carmichael, did most of the legwork. A unified effort and the structures to ensure accountability were needed. The result was the UCM Foundation, officially born June 20, 1979.

In the 1970s, public universities throughout the U.S. were establishing private foundations. Their function, during the nation's second energy crisis and another economic downturn, was to provide the structure and efficiency needed to develop private partnerships to advance their institutions' educational missions. This movement, during a decade that saw the first video games, the earliest personal computers and the women's movement, launched an American phenomenon, a tradition of philanthropy for higher education without peer in the world.

The year was 1979, and public universities throughout the U.S. had been establishing private foundations. Their task, during the nation's second energy crisis and another economic downturn, was to provide the structure and efficiency needed to develop partnerships that would advance their institutions' educational missions.

For Central Missouri, the foundation's origin meant that serious fundraising could begin, starting with the first task of establishing relationships so critical to success. That was a pivotal start, says Kirkpatrick, who remembers faculty trying to raise money for gasoline to attend conferences. She also recalls that alumni seemed to like the new foundation.

"We always have had an excellent Alumni Association; they were one of the keys to our success," Kirkpatrick says, noting that alumni has always shared the fundraising role. "We had to define the roles of both groups, and once we did that, we were able to work together without duplication of effort."

"People realized we were all one family," Webb adds. "The groups did, and continue to, work together well. As the people grew, the assets began to grow."

The board also realized that much of the growth came from the legacies of family generations who attended the university, Webb explains. "There was a very distinct sense of pride among our alumni. Many felt an obligation to give back, and it became a growing family of people dedicated to the cause of advancing the university."

Along with their generosity, donors also wanted accountability.

"We were able to provide that," Pendleton says. "We created an awareness of the need for fundraising, and we accepted our responsibility to the deans to be excellent stewards of the relationship they had worked hard to develop."

"There was a very distinct sense of pride among our alumni. Many felt an obligation to give back, and it became a growing family of people dedicated to the cause of advancing the university."

Kirkpatrick was president of the board when, after its first few years of operation, the members felt a need to be more aggressive in helping the foundation's assets grow.

"In the beginning, we were able to invest in certificates of deposit, but we began to realize there were much better opportunities for growth out there," she says. "We brought in an expert who spent two days with the board, explaining our options." The results were the investment policies followed by the board today.

"We developed policies on what we could accept, including inkind gifts," Pendleton adds. "That was an important part of our growth, along with investment policies that took the best advantage of what was available to us."

What had begun as a one-person operation from a single desk on a back porch had grown into an organization now managing more than $25 million in assets.

"We were able to take the foundation to the next level," Webb says. "It was obvious it had grown, and we had become more specialized in our efforts. Staff members were added. But the exciting part was watching the growth of the intangibles, the change in fundraising culture in the university community that allowed the foundation to grow."

"We did more than just raise money," Kirkpatrick says. "We were advancing the university."

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Comments About This Article

         
We should always examine our roots to see and learn about the imagination of our founders who brought success in an important endeavor. Thanks to them we can see the path that leads to the success of UCM.