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News Clips 06/06/2014
FGCU’s bankroll eclipses $100M
Source: News-Press, 06/04/14
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By Dave Breitenstein
FGCU expects to wrap up June with an endowment fund crushing its all-time high and total assets reaching nine figures.
Another solid fundraising year, combined with Wall Street’s resurgence, has brought the FGCU Foundation into uncharted territory. Once final reports are updated with June numbers, vice president for university advancement Chris Simoneau expects:
• Assets will exceed $100 million for the first time.
• The endowment will surpass $75 million.
• Donations for the 2013-14 fiscal year will reach $17.6 million to $17.8 million.
“A lot of hard work went into making sure we did the right thing with the foundation’s endowment,” said Charles Winton, chairman of the foundation’s board of directors.
Last week, FGCU announced a $2 million gift from Lehigh Acres-based Community Health Association, money that will provide scholarships for nursing, health and education majors. Miller Couse, incoming foundation board chairman, said another seven to 10 gifts are pending with an estimated value of $2 million.
The foundation is FGCU’s private fundraising arm. It uses donations and investments to finance scholarships, professorships, facility construction, special programs and athletics.
Foundation officers met Wednesday to review finances. One notable statistic, Winton said, is that the foundation received 13 gifts in excess of $100,000 during the past year, including three that topped $2 million.
“They are affirmations of trust in this university and demonstrate the importance of FGCU’s mission to this region,” Winton said.
Founded in 1993, four years before the university opened, the foundation has relied on Southwest Florida businesses and philanthropists to support its initiatives. The vast majority of FGCU alumni are just beginning their careers, so the university hasn’t aggressively pursued donations from graduates until recently. An anonymous donor is matching gifts from alumni, though, and the foundation has created a goal for 5 percent of FGCU’s 20,000 graduates to donate; the current rate is 4 percent.
Beyond fundraising, FGCU is receiving a record number of freshmen applications, consistently hitting capacity at its residence halls, winning conference championships in athletics and seeing enrollment rise to a projected 15,000 students this fall.
“It’s a great time to be at Florida Gulf Coast University,” President Wilson Bradshaw declared.