Brilliant Futures Campaign FAQs
The purpose of the University’s Campaign is to sustain and enhance the ability of faculty, students and staff to do their best work, as well as to increase the positive impact of the University locally, nationally and globally. Private support has become a vital facilitator for the development of groundbreaking research, lifesaving medical advances, innovative undergraduate curricula and progressive economic development, including spin-off business enterprises based on faculty and student research. Countless students have received an extraordinary University of Illinois education because of private philanthropy. The Campaign is an opportunity for the University to partner with its dedicated alumni and friends, as well as future supporters in advancing the future.
The Campaign was initiated in July 2003 with a four-year Planning Phase and will continue in a Public Phase through December 2011. During the Planning Phase, the University’s three campuses and their schools and colleges identified their aspirational goals, developed their case for support, solicited leadership gifts and identified prospective donors. During the Public Phase, which was launched on June 1, 2007, leadership gifts continue to be solicited as we expand out solicitations to as many alumni and friends as we can reach, inviting them to invest in the University’s vision and goals.
Working in collaboration with a network of University leaders and development professionals, the University of Illinois Foundation led the effort to plan and implement the Campaign.
Using the overall Campaign goals as the framework for unit-specific planning, the Office of Development provided every unit with a process for goal setting. Deans and department heads used this priority-setting process—in conjunction with support provided by each unit’s chief development officer—to generate their Campaign vision and to develop the priorities needed to achieve that vision. The Chancellor, Provost and Associate Chancellor for Development, along with the University President and the UIF President, evaluated and approved these priorities using two basic criteria: (1) the merit of the priority in terms of advancing the unit and campus toward its shared visions and (2) the fundability of the priority in terms of potential private support. The University’s 2005 strategic planning process also factored into the development of Campaign objectives.
High-quality faculty is key to the innovation, ideas, education and research that lie at the heart of the Universitys aspirations. If donors are inspired to give, they do so because they are captivated by the possibilities and no one can articulate those possibilities more passionately or eloquently than faculty. In the Campaign, faculty will be called on to help portray the University’s most cherished ambitions and to showcase their work and that of their students.
Additionally, faculty members have their own tradition of giving to University of Illinois, often in support of students. Both types of faculty contributions are critical.
Private gift support acts the extra margin of excellence that assures the University’s continued recognition as a world-class institution of public higher education.
The reasons that our alumni and friends give are as diverse as they are. There are donors who want to honor loved ones or friends, those who want to honor the past accomplishments of their parents, or loving siblings who want to pay tribute to the achievements of a brother or sister. There are donors who are grateful for what they received from Illinois and they now want to give something back. Many of our donors recognize that giving to Illinois offers them not only the opportunity to strengthen their University, it gives them the chance to secure their own financial future as part of a planned giving process. Some of our donors have a passion for a certain cause and want to help make sure that adequate funding exists to sustain and enhance academic and research excellence in that specific area. For others, giving to their alma mater is a family tradition.
Given the University’s experience with private gifts in the past and considering the record of other states where publicly assisted institutions have conducted successful campaigns for private funds, there is no reason to expect reduced legislative support in light of a successful Campaign. It is highly unlikely the Illinois legislature will decrease the funding to the University of Illinois based on the Campaign’s success.
On the contrary, voluntary support presents compelling evidence to legislators of the quality and value of the University of Illinois. Your voices and your gifts give you an opportunity to assure that the University of Illinois is accurately perceived as a worthy public investment that pays identifiable and substantial dividends in the lives of our citizens.
Absolutely! The Campaign goals were arrived at through a consultative process involving the President, as well as each campus Chancellor, deans, faculty, administration, volunteers and donors to the University. Moreover, the needs assessment on which the goal is based included all parts of the University, including its three campuses. Many endowments sought through the Campaign (such as endowed professorships or merit scholarships) will also have campus-wide benefits. Other gifts will benefit specific schools or colleges of a particular campus, as designated by the donor.
Yes. The University can prepare a proposal or gift agreement to suit your interests or you may state the purpose in a letter or transmittal accompanying your gift or pledge form. However, to facilitate effective gift administration and to ensure that your contribution is used as you intend, you should discuss it with a development staff members before putting any restriction(s) in writing.
Your pledge will be used for specific special projects and programs that the Campaign will make possible. For example, annual gifts count toward the Campaign total, so we urge you to make a special pledge to the Campaign and to continue with or increase your annual giving.
The University of Illinois gratefully accepts anonymous gifts and will protect the anonymity of any donor who requests it. Anonymous gifts will be counted toward Campaign goals.
The University of Illinois Campaign offers a variety of possibilities to memorialize or honor a relative, friend or other individual. Endowed funds frequently bear the donor’s name, or are named at the donor’s direction. Buildings and other facilities may also offer naming opportunities in whole or in part. Each case is considered separately, in accordance with established University policy, and must be approved by the President and other chief leadership individuals, as warranted by the specific gift under consideration.
The basic purpose or mission of the Foundation has not changed in the more than 70 years since it was established in 1935. As stated in its Articles of Incorporation, the role of the University of Illinois Foundation is procuring and administering private support on behalf of the University. The Foundation functions as the independent official fundraising and private gift-receiving agency for the University of Illinois. The Foundation is not an object of philanthropy itself but exists solely to benefit the University. In fact, many public colleges and universities have separate foundations, just as we do—and for good reasons.
Chief among these reasons, naturally, is that the Foundation builds financial support on behalf of the University of Illinois. Secondly, the UIF helps to assure the necessary confidentiality of donor records, gift agreements and donor correspondence. Thirdly, it provides administrative management services that donors both require and value. Finally, the Foundation, through its targeted investment practices and policies, is able to enhance the return on investment for the funds entrusted to its care.
As stated in its Articles of Incorporation, the role of the University of Illinois Foundation is procuring private gift support on behalf of the University. The Foundation’s sole reason for existence is to serve the University of Illinois.
It’s important to note that all gifts made will benefit the University and its three campuses. Its counterparts at many other universities view the U of I Foundation as a best-practice organization in the related areas of stewardship as the process by which we seek to be worthy of the continued philanthropic support of the University’s alumni and friends by providing:
- Timely and accurate acknowledgement and reporting of gifts, as well as preparation of gift receipts for tax purposes;
- Appropriate donor recognition and adherence to donor intent;
- Prudent investment of endowments;
- Effective and efficient use of funds;
- Administration of major donor pledges, including confirmation and reminders as requested;
- Coordination of donor matching gift program(s); and,
- Honorary memorial notification as needed or requested.
While the vast majority of endowment gifts are deposited to the Foundation endowment, there are occasionally gifts that flow into the University of Illinois endowment. When this does occur, it is because the donor has specifically named the University of Illinois as the recipient of their particular endowment gift, through a testamentary instrument. In this instance, the donor’s request must be honored because the University of Illinois and the Foundation are separate legal entities, independent from one another.
Annual gifts, which are a category of current gifts, provide much-needed dollars for wide-ranging initiatives such as student scholarships, student travel to professional conferences, funding for graduate student research projects and special lectures and seminars. They are an important source of operational revenue and are used in the year received, making an immediate impact on the lives of students and faculty. For this reason, annual giving continues to be one of our top priorities in the Campaign.
Back to top
An endowed gift is a gift that the University holds in perpetuity and does not spend. Endowed gifts are invested, and only a portion of the average annual investment return is used for the defined purpose(s) specified by the donor. Each gift designated as an endowment, therefore, is a source of permanent financial support and a donor who creates an endowed gift is assured that it will grow and continue to support the University of Illinois for generations to come. The endowment is invaluable because it provides a permanent and stable stream of revenues above those generated primarily from student tuition and fees. As our endowment grows, it will help ensure the strength and stability of our institution and better enable us to maintain our leadership position in education and research.
On a personal note, creating an endowed fund allows you to put your name or the name of another person or organization on the endowment. In this way, donors may have their names, or the name of a loved one, linked to a facility, unit or program in which they have a particular interest.
Unrestricted funds are those received from the donor with no limitations on how the gift is to be used. They are often considered the most powerful form of private support because they permit the University to act with operational and intellectual flexibility based on current immediate need. Unrestricted funds are particularly vital for initiatives and projects for which other sources of funding may be unavailable or inadequate, and are often used for student assistance, faculty support, research aid and the purchase of books, collections and supplies, as well as enhanced technological capability.
Unrestricted gifts allow the University to deploy resources where need is greatest at the time. Please consider making all or a portion of your gift unrestricted to help provide discretionary funding that will assist the University to adequately meet unexpected needs and opportunities as they arise.
Designated funds are gifts allocated by a donor for a specific purpose, usually based on his/her special interest in or love of a specific area. This gives you the opportunity to tailor your support of the University of Illinois. You can give to an area of personal interest by designating your gift to any of the diverse existing funds or current Campaign priorities.
Many employers sponsor matching gift programs and may match charitable contributions made by their employees. Matching gift programs not only give employers the opportunity to express their corporate philanthropy, such programs also demonstrate that they appreciate their workers by supporting the educational and other charitable organizations valued by their employees. Numerous firms use their resources to enhance the quality of the educational experience for University of Illinois students and expand Illinois’ research efforts.
In some cases, gifts from spouses and retired employees may also be eligible for a match. Ratios for matching gifts can vary from employer to employer, and may typically range from 1:1 to 5:1, depending on the company’s specific program. Check out our database tool to learn if your company has a matching gift program.