Private support for the University of Wyoming has not yet fallen off, despite the economic fallout caused both in-state and nationally by the coronavirus pandemic. In fact, the UW Foundation reported an increase in giving for the fiscal year ending on June 30.
During that time, private donations amounted to $43.6 million, compared to $41.6 million the year before. The university’s five-year annual fundraising average remains above $50 million, the university said in a news release this past week.
“The unwavering generosity of the UW family is remarkable,” Ben Blalock, president and CEO of the UW Foundation, said in the announcement. “Even during these historic times of hardship and uncertainty, our alumni and friends, along with our corporate and foundation partners, continue to prioritize support for Wyoming’s university.”
Blalock said private gifts are an increasingly important part of the university’s funding. The economic effects of COVID-19 have significantly slashed the school’s budget. Gov. Mark Gordon announced Wednesday that the school would account for $42.3 million of the state’s newly announced budget cuts, which in total surpass $250 million from the general fund. And the university is being asked to prepare for even more reductions, which Gordon said are forthcoming.
The UW endowment pool, however, now numbers more than $585 million, the school announced. That money is split among 1,589 individual endowments. UW has the largest endowment in the Mountain West Conference, in which most of its sports compete.
The school credits its matching funds program with incentivizing private giving over the past 20 years. More than $222 million has been invested in the university since the program began in 2001. Donor gifts have doubled these funds, the announcement read.
Earlier this year, the state Legislature allocated an additional $6.25 million in state matching funds to UW. According to the school’s announcement, the money will support “Tier-1 Engineering Initiative; the Science Initiative; programs to support endowed professorships; research in agriculture for production, ranch and range management; and endowment support for the College of Law legal clinics and experiential learning programs.”
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