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ISU has good fundraising, mediocre investment year

Mon, 30 Jul 2012 15:41:07 CDT
By: Charlie Schlenker

Illinois State University brought in 15 million dollars in donations last year. That's the second best year ever. Vice President for Institutional Advancement Erin Minne' says these days it's all hard won.

"Just because of the times donors are restricting their giving. And they're giving to fewer institutions. Even if they are giving the same amounts, they are being cautious and mindful. Corporations are also doing a similar thing, only giving where they feel they can get good mutual benefit.

Minne says ISU saw a slight increase in the number of alumni donors, which runs counter to the national trend. Meanwhile, market volatility reduced the value of ISU's endowment fund by perhaps as much as four percent.

"Well, anybody who is watching the market knows that you get whiplash these days. It's very very difficult and we're in it for the long haul. We want to preserve the purchasing power of the endowment. So, in many respects we are probably a lot more conservatively invested than some organizations."

ISU's $78 million endowment is managed by the Common Fund, which takes care of hundreds of higher educational institutions in the U-S.
Minne' says the university does not foresee an impact on the number and amount of scholarships awarded using two and a half million dollars in endowment income this year. Fundraising is increasingly crucial to public universities as state government cuts funding. ISU lost more than six percent of its state appropriation for the new fiscal year. President Al Bowman says state support of ISU is now only 18% of the total budget, down significantly from the previous year.

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