UConn Foundation raises $71.8 million, grows endowment in 2017

“UConn is ranked No. 18 by U.S. News and World Report, and we’re excited about playing our role in pushing that number even higher,” Newton said. (File/The Daily Campus)

The University of Connecticut Foundation raised $71.8 million dollars from 22,243 donors in fiscal year 2017 and saw growth in the university’s endowment, according to Josh Newton, President and CEO of the UConn Foundation.

The donated money came from a variety of sources, mainly UConn alumni, Newton said in an email.  

The university’s endowment rose 11.9 percent, according to the 2017 annual report. The endowment jumped from $377.2 million to $421.9 million over the fiscal year.

The endowment growth has led to 41 new scholarships and fellowships, according to the report.

“Since March 2009, the total university endowment has grown by $176.1 million (71.6 percent) thanks to the generosity of donors,” according to the report.

The UConn Foundation also focused on the state budget controversy that occurred this fall, Newton said.

“While there’s no way to really quantify if the budget coverage affected donations in recent months, we do know that many donors who love UConn were concerned, and that philanthropy will be an ever-increasing part of UConn’s future,” Newton said. “The recent budget situation certainly brought light to that fact.”

There are also various events, such as the Fun Run and the Legacy Breakfast, that the UConn Foundation supported throughout the 2017 fiscal year, according to Newton.

“Our alumni engagement team creates a wide variety of events for alumni to enjoy throughout the year, the biggest being October’s Huskies Forever Weekend right here in Storrs,” Newton said. “We love seeing so many alumni and their families return to campus for the Fun Run, reunion dinners, the big game, the Legacy Breakfast, and a lot more. There are also game watches and happy hours across the country, career networking events, and educational programs led by UConn faculty experts.”

UConn Cares, a month of service initiative that engages alumni across the country in various service activities, was another project for the Foundation this year, Newton said.

“(Alumni) volunteered at food banks, made toys for shelter animals, cleaned a summer camp for kids with serious illnesses, and planted community gardens,” Newton said. “The team was hoping to get 100 participants in the inaugural year of this program—and 350 alumni stepped up! It was a great success we’ll be repeating next year. UConn Cares really showcases how Huskies make a difference in their communities.”

The UConn Foundation’s Women and Philanthropy initiative also increased donations to the university this year, the report said.

“(The initiative) has inspired more than 100 donors to endow the Women Transforming Women Scholarship…. The group has raised nearly $140,000 so far,” according to the report.

Philanthropic growth is seen in many goals of the Foundation, including the Transform Lives Scholarship Initiative. Amidst declining state funding, philanthropic contributions are of great importance, said Newton.

“We are focused on engaging ‘UConn Nation’ and helping them connect with the important work happening here at the university,” Newton said. “We’re also looking forward to reaching our $150 million goal in the Transform Lives Scholarship initiative. With the $22 million donated in FY17, we’ve just topped the halfway mark, which is very exciting. We are looking to take giving to the $100 million-plus level in support of the university’s priorities. Clearly with state funding declining, additional support through philanthropy will support increased student and faculty needs.”

The report shows exciting growth to those working at the UConn Foundation, according to Newton.

“UConn is ranked No. 18 by U.S. News and World Report, and we’re excited about playing our role in pushing that number even higher,” Newton said.


EllieAnn Lesko is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at ellieann.lesko@uconn.edu.