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Friday, November 28, 2014

Donors running out of time

hstang@unm.edu

Although efforts to collect $675 million in donations for UNM began in 2006, the UNM Foundation has collected only about 60 percent of that money and has only two more years to reach the goal.

The “Changing Worlds” fundraising campaign is an eight-year project that ends in 2014. The money raised is held in the Consolidated Investment Fund (CIF).

The foundation collected $83.1 million in FY 2011, $75.1 million in FY 2010 and $90.1 million in FY 2009.

According to the 2010-2011 Annual Report on Giving, the fund spends between 4 and 6 percent of the total amount in the CIF each year, to ensure a steady amount of income for UNM to depend on in years to come. The foundation contributed $14.9 million to UNM’s budget in FY 2011, $15.4 million in FY 2010 and $15.2 million in FY 2009.

Director of Communications at the UNM Foundation Wendy Antonio said 50 percent of the total donated money in FY 2011 will be used to provide financial aid to students and about 27 percent of donations will support faculty. She said previous students who excelled at UNM, such as presidential scholarship recipients, often return to financially support and mentor current students to ensure more students can excel.

Antonio said some donors want to support a specific organization or department, so donors decide where their donations are awarded.

She said about $30 million of the money donated in FY 2010 was designated to specific programs and organizations and the remaining total of about $45 million went to general funds.

“Many Lobo fans cheer on their teams, encourage student athletes and help create great facilities for sports through their gifts,” she said. “Others give in a planned way, using the proceeds of their estates to make gifts that are meaningful to them.”

According to the report, UNM alumna Sonnet McKinnon, who graduated from the Anderson School of Management in 1993, and her husband Ian donated $7.5 million in FY 2011. The donation was split $5 million to Anderson and $2.5 million to Athletics.

“We hope we’re able to play a role in advancing outstanding educational opportunities for all New Mexicans, as well as for students from all over the world,” Sonnet said.

Antonio said the satisfaction of giving a gift and the impact donations can have on a student’s life motivate donors to become lifelong contributors.

“Asking ‘whose world would you change?’ resonates with (donors) because they experienced the way their world changed through a wonderful professor, a mentor, the knowledge or perspective they gained through their classes, or generally through the positive educational experience UNM gave them,” she said.

Antonio said the foundation collects donations that will be used in the distant future. She said the fluctuation in donation collections does not instantly affect the University because the foundation’s annual budget depends on donations collected 10 years ago.

Antonio said departments probably won’t be affected by low donation rates in any single year because the foundation can make up the money lost during the period between when the money is collected and when it is disbursed. University programs would only be affected if giving continued to decrease over a long period of time.

“Donors are not on a timetable, so total contributions vary from year to year,” she said. “Overall, the needle is moving upward but we prepare for things to change from year to year.”