CEDAR FALLS — The University of Northern Iowa Foundation recorded its highest fundraising total in history, raising over $38.9 million last year.
“In a year unlike any other, UNI alumni and friends came together to support the University of Northern Iowa in record-breaking fashion,” Jim Jermier, vice president for university advancement and president of the UNI Foundation, said in a news release. “We are extremely grateful for the support and passion our alumni and friends have for the University of Northern Iowa and our students.”
Fundraising in the 2019-20 fiscal year increased 37% over the prior year, exceeding 2018-19 fundraising by $10.4 million. Annual contributions to the UNI Foundation over the past five years have averaged nearly $26 million. In total, 10,313 donors, corporations and foundations gave to support UNI during the year.
“We are here to foster student success and help each individual reach their academic, professional and personal life goals. It’s at the core of everything we do at UNI,” said UNI President Mark Nook in the release. “Fortunately, members of the Panther family recognize that, too, and have responded with extraordinary support.”
Of the $38.9 million raised this year, $14.4 million will support university endowments. Fifty new endowments were established during the year. The university’s endowment stands at $133.9 million as of June.
“We are committed to endowment growth. As a university community, we want to do all we can to grow our support for students, faculty, staff and programs. Endowments help us achieve this goal,” Jermier said.
During fiscal year 2020, $5.3 million in scholarship support was awarded by the UNI Foundation to 1,711 students.
When COVID-19 pushed classes online in the spring semester, the foundation responded with a campaign to support UNI’s Student Emergency Fund, Panther Pantry and scholarship support for those impacted financially by the pandemic. On Giving Tuesday Now, a national day of giving held in May to support organizations helping those dealing with coronavirus related hardships, more than 500 people donated a combined $50,000 for the #UNItogether Scholarships fund. Funds raised were distributed this fall in scholarships to students affected by the pandemic.
In addition to raising funds for scholarship and program support, the foundation focused on several larger university projects. The foundation is actively fundraising for the estimated $14.5 million renovation and expansion of the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center. Groundbreaking is slated for 2022.
The newly launched UNI at DMACC 2+2 program will benefit from a $5 million fundraising campaign to support scholarships and the building fund for Des Moines Area Community College’s Urban Campus where the program is housed.
“Donors to the UNI Foundation are critical in our efforts to grow the Purple Circle,” Nook said. “Gifts to UNI also help enhance the university’s impact throughout Iowa, across the country and around the world.”
More information about the UNI Foundation can be found online at foundation.uni.edu.