University of Alaska Foundation

The UA Foundation is a private nonprofit corporation that operates as a public foundation. It was established in 1974 to solicit, manage, and invest donations for the University of Alaska's exclusive benefit.

The UA Foundation is a tax-exempt organization described in subsection 501 (c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Donations made to the UA Foundation are deductible according to schedules established under income and estate tax regulations. The UA Foundation qualifies as a public charitable organization under Subsection 170 (b) (1) (A) (vi) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The UA Foundation is separate and distinct from the University of Alaska and governed by a Board of Directors. The UA Foundation works closely with each university in the UA system and with others in the community, exclusively for the benefit of the university.

The Board of Regents of the University of Alaska recognizes, through policy, the UA Foundation as the entity that manages private gifts made to support all universities of the UA system.

 

Mission:
The mission of the University of Alaska Foundation is to seek, secure and steward philanthropic support to build excellence at the University of Alaska.  

Vision:
To be a sustainable organization working in alignment with the University of Alaska to grow private philanthropy to enhance excellence.

Values:
Trust, Excellence, Service, Teamwork

 

University of Alaska Regent Brian Brundin established the UA Foundation in 1974. At the time, the Alaska State Legislature sought to have the university's appropriation of state dollars reduced by the value of the gifts it received from private donors. Regent Brundin realized that donors' were not inspired to replace state funds. Regent Brundin asked two of his law partners, John Hughes and Richard Gantz, to join him as the original incorporators and directors of the UA Foundation.

Over the next several years, the UA Foundation grew slowly as the university altered its policies and practices to ensure that all private gifts in support of the university flowed directly to the new organization. A sizeable financial boost occurred when the contributions from the university's earliest and most successful fundraising drives in support of Fairbanks' public TV and radio station, KUAC, were received by the foundation.

In 1976, the three-member Board of Directors expanded to include some of Alaska's most prominent and successful citizens. This board set a goal of increasing the level of private support for the university. By 1979, the UA Foundation held over $250,000 in gifts and bequests.

The first major fundraising project of the foundation began in 1981, with a Committee of Measurable Objectives, which later became the Alaska Research Development Project. Through this project, the foundation directors raised nearly $300,000. This effort eventually resulted in the formation of the Alaska Science and Technology Foundation, which provided millions of dollars in grants to university researchers over time.

In 1982, the UA Foundation established a membership called the College of Fellows as part of its structure. This group allowed the foundation to enlist and involve even more supporters in university activities and fundraising. Through these committed individuals' efforts, the UA Foundation's gifts passed the $1 million mark in 1983.

As the UA Foundation continued to grow, the directors created several committees to manage its affairs and properly invest its funds. The Executive Committee formed in 1985. The Investment Committee organized in 1987 and adopted the first formal investment policy. Also, in 1987, the Board of Directors expanded in size to 15 members. At that time, the UA Foundation's total assets surpassed the $9 million mark.

During the mid-'80s, UAA and UAF established development offices. To align the UA Foundation with the three very distinct regional campuses, the UA Foundation underwent a significant reorganization in 1989. The College of Fellows split into three branches, one for each of the universities in the system. The Board of Directors expanded to include representation from each of the universities. In that year, annual gifts and bequests to the UA Foundation approached $2 million.

The UA Foundation moved more forcefully into its advocacy and public relations role in 1995 when it made its first grant of funds to the university. In that same year, the Board of Directors began its annual spring "fly-ins" to Juneau. Teams of directors and members of the College of Fellows met with legislators to advocate for the university budget.

In 1997, the UA Foundation took over the university's $43 million Land Grant Trust fund under a cooperative agreement with the UA Board of Regents. That same year, the UA Foundation received over $5 million in donations and bequests.

Another significant organizational change occurred in 2000 when the UA Foundation received a $500,000 grant from the Rasmuson Foundation designed to catalyze the university and UA Foundation's efforts to centralize their fundraising functions. Augmented by matching funds from the university and the foundation, the three-year project resulted in combining the universities' several alumni, donor, and constituent databases into a single system accessible to all the campuses. The project also created a centralized systemwide development office and grants to augment the decentralized development offices. At the close of 2001, the UA Foundation's assets exceeded $100 million.

In 2005, the UA Foundation Board of Directors approved a new structure and bylaws that: divested the UA Foundation of the College of Fellows; upgraded the position of Executive Director to Foundation President; implemented fees for gift and investment management; and increased the foundation and university development staff by several new functions in the areas of planned giving, data management, and research. That same year, the UA Foundation's gifts and bequests exceeded $12 million, and its total assets under management surpassed $243 million.

The 2015 strategic planning process led to additional organizational shifts. The foundation/university MOU and foundation bylaws were updated to better align the foundation with the university and coordinate fundraising. Planned giving, annual giving, and donor relations services centralized at the foundation. And with the internal readiness established, the foundation commenced the first comprehensive campaign for the University for Alaska in 2017 with public launch for a state record-setting $200 million goal in 2021.

 

The UA Foundation seeks, secures, and stewards philanthropic support to build excellence at the University of Alaska.

The UA Foundation provides central services to:

Raise and distribute philanthropic support

The UA Foundation partners closely with donors and UA to create philanthropic impact. To ensure that our donors' wishes are respected, individualized gift agreements with donors and university leaders clearly articulate each donor's intent. 

Manage and invest assets and endowments

The UA Foundation manages endowments with a total market value of more than $375 million as of 2021.

You can find more information on the UA Foundation's consolidated investment pool policies, asset allocation, and performance on the Finance Page. 

Account Management 

The UA Foundation provides accounting services for more than 1,800 separate funds and responds to over 1,600 account service requests a month. There are more than 1,500 funds for student aid, many of which are administered by the foundation.

Donor Relations 

The UA Foundation provides gift receipting and acknowledgment for all donations made to the university. 

The UA Foundation coordinates relationships between the university and potential donors. The foundation nurtures relationships with existing donors through reporting, recognition, and stewardship events.

The UA Foundation’s operating budget comes from these primary sources:

A one-time administrative fee (5%) on all non-endowed gifts.

A one-time administrative fee (1%) on all gifts made to endowments. 

A 1% annual fee on the invested endowments (average principal of the five most recent December 31 market values)

Gifts to support the mission of the UA Foundation

The UA system comprises three separately accredited universities (UAA, UAF, and UAS) with 13 community campuses and extended learning centers across the state. All three universities deliver extensive e-Learning instruction. 

System-wide, more than 22,000 full-time and part-time students study among 500 unique programs, including short-course workforce training certificates and endorsements; associate, baccalaureate, and master's degrees; and doctorates. 

Visit the UA System website at www.alaska.edu