CU celebrates best year ever for private support


$213.2 million total includes 11 percent increase to CU fundraising arm

Stem cell research that helps burned skin heal and regenerate. Integrated mental health counseling for Pikes Peak region seniors at little or no cost. A Jewish Studies program that bridges past and present and promotes mutual understanding. A scholarship program that charts a course from high school through medical school, preparing diverse high achievers for practice in Colorado communities.

These are a few of the 1,800-plus areas at the University of Colorado this past year to receive more than $213.2 million in private support-the highest total in CU history, according to preliminary figures announced today. More than 47,000 donors made gifts during the 12 months ending June 30, 2011.

"Setting a record for private support in this difficult economy demonstrates the confidence our donors have not only in the university, its faculty and students, but also in the strong stewardship of the university's fundraising arm, the CU Foundation," said CU President Bruce D. Benson. "Private contributions allow us to enhance the quality of our academic programs, research and student experience, so we appreciate the generosity of all our donors."

Nearly $102.4 million in gifts and grants were contributed through the CU Foundation-an 11 percent year-over-year increase, and the third-highest total in CU Foundation history.

The total also includes $110.8 million in private support channeled directly to CU, rather than the Foundation. By including faculty-generated private contracts and grants in this total for the first time, the 2010-11 figure reflects common standards for U.S. higher education campaigns. In April, CU announced Creating Futures, a $1.5 billion fundraising campaign. (The revised 2009-10 figure for private support to CU is $205.9 million, and the revised figure for 2007-08-previously announced as the highest total ever-is $205.5 million.)

Benson reinforces that private philanthropy does not replace the need for operational funds squeezed by declining state funding-as 98 percent of gifts are earmarked by donors for specific purposes.

Private support for CU has held up well despite the economic downturn, and its future looks notably strong due to a significant upward trend in estate gifts. The CU Foundation recorded more than $33 million last year in commitments made via an individual's will, its highest total ever for the second consecutive year. These estate commitments are not counted in fiscal-year or Creating Futures campaign totals, but they indicate a strong pipeline for future support.

CU donors are creating futures by supporting:

  • Teaching and Learning at the University of Colorado Denver,where a gift from Cordillera Energy Partners executives George Solich (BS '83, Boulder; MBA '91, Denver) and Tad Herz will help launch a new Center for Commodities-the first U.S. university center to provide a comprehensive education incommodities such as energy, minerals, and agriculture. The center will be a showcase at the new Business School home that will open in 2012.
  • Discovery and Innovation at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, where the Osborne Center for Science & Engineering was named to honor the campus's most generous individual donors in history, Ed and Mary Osborne.
  • Culture and Community at the University of Colorado Boulder, where Ruth (JD '72) and Ken Wright set up an endowment for physics students who plan to teach in K-12 schools-honoring CU-Boulder physics "founding father" Al Bartlett, and reflecting CU's ambition to improve education in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.
  • Health and Wellness at the Anschutz Medical Campus, where the Advancing Care Together program will help integrate mental and physical health care, thanks to a grant from the Colorado Health Foundation, which supported 16 programs at CU this past year. 

CU Foundation donors gave $46.9 million to the University of Colorado Boulder, $40.2 million to the Anschutz Medical Campus, $5.7 million to the University of Colorado Denver, and $6.9 million to the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, in addition to $2.7 million in other CU System gifts.

In the coming years, CU will continue to aggressively pursue its $1.5 billion goal for the Creating Futures campaign-the most ambitious in CU history. Priority fundraising areas include:

  • Scholarships, endowed chairs, and professorships on all CU campusesResearch programs including an interdisciplinary, intercampus biotechnology initiative.
  • Buildings and infrastructure such as the Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building in Boulder, the Health and Wellness Center on the Anschutz Medical Campus, the Business School in Denver, and the Heller Center for Arts and Humanities in Colorado Springs.
  • Academic support such as a Bachelor of Innovation program in Colorado Springs, a precollegiate program in Denver, and a Renewable and Sustainable Energy Initiative in Boulder. 

"The support we've seen this year is a tribute to public confidence in the University of Colorado's leaders, and a reflection of the life-changing work CU's faculty, staff, and students pursue each day," says J. Wayne Hutchens, president and CEO of the University of Colorado Foundation. "In a challenging budget environment, it is critical that CU build its endowments for the benefit of tomorrow's students and Colorado's citizens."

On June 30, 2011, endowments held by the CU Foundation on behalf of CU totaled $781.2 million. The CU Foundation's Long Term Investment Pool (LTIP), which includes the vast majority of these endowments, appreciated 19 percent for the most recent fiscal year. In the past seven years, the LTIP has appreciated approximately 8.5 percent annually, exceeding investment-committee benchmarks, and ranking the LTIP among the top 10 percent of peers over that period.

About the CU System

The University of Colorado is a premier public research university with four campuses: the University of Colorado Boulder, the University of Colorado Colorado Springs, the University of Colorado Denver and the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus. Some 60,000 students are pursuing CU academic degrees. Academic prestige is marked by the university's four Nobel laureates, seven MacArthur "genius" Fellows, 18 alumni astronauts and 19 Rhodes Scholars. For more information about the entire CU system, and to access campus resources, go to

About the CU Foundation

Founded in 1967, the nonprofit CU Foundation partners with the University of Colorado to raise, manage, and invest private support for the university's benefit. Our donors help the university transform lives through education, research, clinical care, and community engagement. Visit for more information.