Friends University received $7.7 million in gift income for 2008-09, making it the second-largest fundraising year in the University’s history. In addition, despite decreases in many university endowments, Friends University is reaffirming its commitment to maintain existing scholarship levels for students in 2009-10.
“We are very grateful for the support that our alumni and donors have provided for the University – especially given the economic situation during the past year,” said Dr. Biff Green, Friends University president.
Hervey Wright III, vice president of University Relations, said Friends University’s successful fundraising year included a $3 million gift from J.R. and Gertrude Smith, which was used to help fund new student apartments on campus; an anonymous gift of $1 million; and several other large estate gifts in addition to annual gifts from alumni and donors.
Wright noted that while other universities are lowering scholarship levels or cutting back the number of scholarships awarded because of decreases in endowment values, the Friends University Board of Trustees voted at its meeting in October 2008 to use reserves as needed to maintain existing scholarship levels for 2008-09 and 2009-10.
“Since President Green came to Friends University in 1991, we were able to grow our endowment from $3 million to more than $50 million before the economic crisis hit,” Wright said. “This has allowed us to build reserves that help us weather a slow economy, keep tuition increases low, and keep the effects of an economic downturn as far away from our students as possible.”
Wright said Friends University awarded more than $6.2 million in scholarships in 2008-09 to more than 840 students. Ninety-two percent of full-time traditional undergraduate students received institutional scholarships (scholarships awarded by Friend University), and 85 percent of all Friend University students who were eligible to receive aid received some form of financial aid in 2008-09.
Wright credited the University’s Planned Giving program with contributing toward much of last fiscal year’s gift income success. He said approximately 40 to 70 percent of Friends University’s annual gift income comes from people who have left a gift to the University through their will or through a gift of real estate, a charitable gift annuity, or other type of planned or deferred gift.