ISU Foundation posts 21 percent increase in fundraising

September 3 2008

Despite a challenging economy, alumni and friends of Indiana State University increased their giving to the university's foundation by 21 percent in the 2007-08 fiscal year. Those gifts include annual giving, or one-time gifts, as well as major gifts toward capital improvements.

The annual gifts - those where people donate amounts such as $100 or $25 - increased 12 percent from $1.53 million to $1.72 million. The most significant increase in giving came in major gifts due to the leadership phase of a comprehensive campaign now in the works. As a result, major gifts increased 44 percent, from $3.9 million to $5.7 million.

"The ISU Foundation is the economic engine of the university," ISU Foundation President Gene Crume stated. "That engine has begun to work at a faster pace, and we are very pleased with the progress we have made after our first year of reorganization."

The significant increase in giving is evidence of the wisdom behind a decision to make the foundation a separate entity from the university, Crume said. This restructuring occurred one year ago as a progressive move that many larger institutions have found to be beneficial, he said.

Funds raised by the ISU Foundation are earmarked for specific projects which fall into several categories including academic programs, students, facilities, athletics, experiential learning and the community. Following are examples of major gifts from the 2007-08 year that fall into those categories.

- Program Support - Lilly Endowment provided a $3 million grant to continue support of Networks Financial Institute. These funds will provide support for the financial-services marketplace by developing future industry leaders, improving financial literacy of consumers, and improving the decision-making process in financial services.

- Facilities Support - Greg and Denise Ulm gave a significant gift to support student space in University Hall, which is being renovated to house the College of Education. The former Laboratory School, where Ulm served as the last principal before it closed, is being renovated as a first-rate learning facility.

- Student Support - The Jane Schnabel Bakerman estate provided a library endowment. Known as the Bakerman Student Research Awards, these gifts will provide scholarships to both undergraduate and graduate students. Bakerman is an emeriti faculty member at ISU.

- Athletic Support - Chad and Natalie Overton of Terre Haute, and their company Serv-Pro, made significant contributions to Sycamore athletics, including enhancing the men's basketball tradition.

- Student Support - Mike and Mary Blackwell, alumni from Ridgeland, Miss., have created the Blackwell Scholars Endowment to support a student in each of the following areas: geology, elementary education, baseball scholar-athlete and a member of Alpha Tau Omega.

- Experiential Learning Support - Alumnus and foundation board member Michael Simmons made an enormous impact on Team Sycamore Racing with a financial gift that allows students to operate, manage and drive a dragster.

- Community Support - The foundation, foundation board members and other donors quickly created a disaster relief fund in excess of $15,000 immediately following the Terre Haute floods in early June. The fund provided relief for faculty, staff and students affected by the flood, and now a permanent emergency fund is in place.

As part of the restructuring, the ISU Foundation officially adopted a new mission and vision and is now developing a strategic plan. That plan will grow from this transformational mission statement: "The ISU Foundation inspires others to become involved in the life of Indiana State University and secure the resources to ensure the University's growth and success."

"One of our biggest changes was our structure," foundation board Chairman Dave Campbell said, referring to the separation of the foundation from the University. "ISU was a leader among schools our size in making this change."

"Over the past year, most everything about the ISU Foundation has changed except our commitment to student scholarships," Crume added. "A strategic planning process now under way will bring even more changes that will positively impact student, faculty and the community."

Contact: Gene Crume, president, Indiana State University Foundation, 812-237-3777 or gcrume@indstatefoundation.org

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Story Highlights

Despite a challenging economy, alumni and friends of Indiana State University increased their giving to the university's foundation by 21 percent in the 2007-08 fiscal year. Those gifts include annual giving, or one-time gifts, as well as major gifts toward capital improvements.

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