NU Foundation receives a record $236.7M

· 5 min read

NU Foundation receives a record $236.7M

Student dancers take a bow after a performance following the April 26 announcement of the renovation of the Lied Center's Johnny Carson Theater. The project was funded through a $571,500 gift to the NU Foundation.
Troy Fedderson | University Communications
Student dancers take a bow after a performance following the April 26 announcement of the renovation of the Lied Center's Johnny Carson Theater. The project was funded through a $571,500 gift to the NU Foundation.

Donors gave $236.7 million to the University of Nebraska this year, making it the University of Nebraska Foundation’s best year ever for private gifts. This record represents a 43 percent increase over the last fiscal year and a 37 percent increase over the previous gift record of $172.1 million in 2011.

The Veterinary Diagnostic Center and College of Business Administration at UNL, the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at UNMC, the Biomechanics Research Building at UNO, and the Health Science Education Complex at UNK were among those receiving private support this year.

“The University of Nebraska is engaged in important work that matters to Nebraska and to the world,” said James B. Milliken, president of the University of Nebraska. “The foundation’s tremendous success in the past year will help us advance our work in areas like cancer research, early childhood development, agriculture and building Nebraska’s workforce. One important component has been our ability to leverage the support of the Nebraska Legislature in providing funds for several major initiatives that will benefit the state.”

The Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center, the Veterinary Diagnostic Center at UNL and the Health Science Education Complex at UNK all received commitments of appropriations from the Nebraska Legislature as long as private funds could also be raised. The cancer center also received county and city government support. Additional private funds must be raised to complete construction on the Veterinary Diagnostic Center and the UNK Health Science Education Complex; construction of the Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center is underway.

“Donors are what make a record year possible,” said chairman of the board, Pete Whitted. “The University of Nebraska Foundation received terrific support from alumni and friends across the country who are making a difference on each and every campus. As a result, we are creating unlimited possibilities for students, for teaching, for research and for state-of-the-art learning environments at the University of Nebraska.”

Some donor gifts are endowed, with only the income transferred to the university year after year. In 2013, the total amount transferred to the university from the foundation was $174.7 million. Of that amount, nearly $94 million was designated by donors for campus construction or renovation projects, $21 million was provided for student scholarships and $45 million for direct support of academic programs.

Since 2009, total gifts received by the NU Foundation have grown from $128.1 million to $236.7 million. Funds transferred have also grown over the same span, from $102.8 million in 2009 to the $174.7 million in 2013.

Major UNL gifts in 2013 include:

• $8 million from the Robert and Ardis James Foundation to the International Quilt Study Center and Museum. The gift includes a $7 million expansion of the IQSCM and $1 million to establish a permanent endowment for the museum.

$2.5 million from Ken Korff and the late Glenn Korff to support the new College of Business Administration building campaign in honor of their father, alumnus Paul W. Korff.

• $571,500 from the John W. Carson Foundation to renovate the Johnny Carson Theater at the Lied Center for Performing Arts. The project includes a redesigned entrance/lobby and a new theater floor.

• $200,000 from the UNL Friends of the Opera to create the Ariel Bybee Visiting Professorship Endowed Fund. The fund provides annual support to the Glenn Korff School of Music’s opera program in honor of Bybee, a professor of opera who retired in 2008.

• Multiple gifts toward the building of a new Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center. The Nebraska Legislature committed $41.5 million through the “Building a Healthier Nebraska” initiative. The funds will be made available once $4.15 million is raised from private sources. To date, about half of the $4.15 million has been raised.

Brian Hastings, the foundation’s CEO, praised the leadership of the University of Nebraska and the more than 800 foundation trustees and 300 volunteers involved in the Campaign for Nebraska: Unlimited Possibilities—the university’s comprehensive fundraising campaign—for the successful year.

“President Milliken and each of the four chancellors have put forth a vision for the University of Nebraska that is compelling to donors,” he said. “That message has been carried to alumni far and wide by our committed campaign volunteers. I am grateful for all they have done to make this the foundation’s best year ever, and for the difference they are making at the university and in this state.”

The foundation’s total assets, which include the endowment, cash holdings and other assets, totaled $1.9 billion. The foundation’s endowment realized a return of 12.9 percent.

The foundation’s fiscal year ended June 30; the financial statements were then audited by the foundation’s independent auditors, KPMG LLP. The auditor’s report is available at

The audited financials and other business highlights for the year were shared Oct. 4, at the annual meeting of the University of Nebraska Foundation’s trustees.

Tonn Ostergard, president and CEO of Crete Carrier of Lincoln, became the new chair of the board of directors and will serve through 2015. Mark Chronister of Bloomington, Minn., was named chair-elect. Chronister is a retired partner and former manager of PricewaterhouseCoopers in Minneapolis. John Gottschalk of Omaha received the Perry W. Branch Award, which is the foundation’s top volunteer service award. Paul Sather, director of the Service Learning Academy at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, received the Harlan J. Noddle Award, for service to development.

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