The UConn Foundation, like other institutionally related foundations, exists solely to promote the educational, research, and outreach missions of the university it serves. Foundations solicit, receive, and administer private gifts and financial resources that provide additional support beyond the university’s state appropriations, revenue, and grant income.
Extensive information on foundations—what they do, why they exist, and more—can be found on the CASE website. The UConn Foundation Board of Trustees has also adopted the CASE Statement of Ethics, which was designed to guide advancement professionals nationwide in their conduct.
Why Foundations Are Separate Organizations
Foundations are separate 501(c)(3) nonprofits because:
- They can invest beyond the low-risk, low-return strategies often mandated by states, thereby increasing the opportunity for greater investment return and, consequently, the revenue available to the primary institution.
- Donors often feel more secure making a major gift to a foundation governed by individuals with extensive legal, business, and financial management skills.
- Foundation boards can operate in a businesslike manner and provide an engaging role for powerful and successful individuals who want to help advance an institution.
- Foundations can also serve to safeguard the privacy of donors who may not want the details of their personal finances to become a matter of public record.
Benefits to the University
The support foundations provide to universities is critical, as it significantly augments other university revenue sources. UConn provides non-state appropriated funding to the Foundation in support of its fundraising operations, and the foundation raises funds from private sources for direct operational and endowment support—on the order of a nearly 8:1 return on the university’s investment. This makes the Foundation an extremely beneficial and wise investment for the University.
No taxpayer dollars are paid from the UConn operating fund to the Foundation.
Benefits to Donors
An independent UConn Foundation serves donors in the following ways:
- It receives gifts from donors who prefer not to have their contributions placed in state accounts.
- It provides donors with an extra level of assurance that their gifts will be used in accordance with their wishes.
- Gifts made to the Foundation on behalf of the University provide program enhancement, rather than replacement of state support.
- It ensures donor privacy when requested, as well as the confidentiality of donor information.
Under state law, the UConn Foundation is specifically exempted from the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act, which is crucial to safeguarding donor privacy and advancing the Foundation’s mission. Connecticut law requires the Foundation to disclose to donors their right to require confidentiality, should they want their gifts to remain anonymous.
The Foundation is limited by both state and federal law concerning how the funds it receives may be expended. The Foundation’s Certificate of Incorporation also provides limitations, consistent with federal requirements, on how the Foundation’s net earnings may be distributed.
Under state statute, no officer or employee of the University may receive a salary, fee, loan or any compensation or other thing of value from the Foundation, or withdraw funds from a Foundation account for any purpose, without the written approval of the University President.
Foundations and Public Disclosure
Like many foundations, the UConn Foundation’s financial dealings are subject to public disclosure through its Memorandum of Understanding between the University and the Foundation, which is signed by the President of the University, the Chief Financial Officer of the University, the Chair of the Foundation Board of Directors, the Foundation President and the Executive Vice president of the Health Center. It is then sent for approval by the Attorney General’s Office in Hartford.