About the University of Maine Foundation
What is the University of Maine Foundation?
The University of Maine Foundation is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that operates with its own elected Board of Directors, subject to the ultimate control of the membership. Established in 1934, the Foundation exists to encourage gifts and bequests to promote academic achievement, foster research and elevate intellectual pursuits at the University of Maine in Orono and other charitable organizations. The University of Maine Foundation manages an endowment—a collection of hundreds of individually named funds that are invested for growth—and annually distributes earnings providing private support as determined by our donors for University programs, students and faculty. Through the prudent stewardship of donors' gifts, the Foundation is able to ensure stability for programs and student financial aid. Since the principal is not spent, endowments generate earnings year after year.
How does the University of Maine Foundation serve the University?
The Foundation works hard to raise new funds to benefit the University of Maine. It raised gifts, bequests and irrevocable commitments totaling over $6.6 million last year. The Foundation and the University work in a closely coordinated and cooperative manner to pursue strategies designed to promote efficiency and to maximize effective contacts with potential benefactors. Pursuant to a Memorandum of Agreement with the University, the Foundation has assumed primary responsibility for all deferred/planned giving to the University and manages and invests endowment funds. This arrangement allows the University's Development Office to focus on current gifts that are not endowed.
What is deferred or planned giving?
Deferred/planned giving includes a number of ways a donor can leave a gift for the University of Maine Foundation at his or her death or a number of ways he or she can receive benefits during his or her lifetime with the remaining funds used to benefit the University. It can be a simple contract or a complex program of various financial instruments that can be adapted to each donor's needs, often involving professional tax, legal and financial advisors to structure gifts that meet the philanthropic goals of the donor. Deferred/planned gifts include gifts through wills, charitable gift annuities, charitable trusts, pooled life income plans and gifts of life insurance.
What are the advantages of having a foundation independent of the University of Maine?
- Providing a vehicle to raise and manage private money above that which is appropriated from state funds.
- Providing a vehicle to keep private funds separate from public funds that usually come with State mandates.
- Providing a private/public partnership vehicle for procurement of services, programs, and projects that benefit the University in the long term, i.e., Buchanan Alumni House.
- Operating as a private nonprofit organization in a politically neutral, less restrictive environment, which increases our responsiveness and efficiency in meeting important University goals.
- Focusing on accountability, earnings are distributed according to donor wishes and are carefully monitored by an independent governing board in perpetuity.
- Being independent of the State system, the Foundation can offer greater flexibility with gift acceptance. The Foundation can accept and sell certain types of property more expeditiously and is in a better position to keep donor information confidential for those who wish anonymity.
- Maintaining a long-term perspective on needs, priorities, and past commitments going beyond the outlook and tenure of University administrators.
- Balancing the requirement of public accountability with protections against invasion of privacy. Both trusts, the public and the prospective donor, figure prominently in Foundation policies.
- Involving volunteers in fund-raising efforts and creating within them a sense of pride, accomplishment, and ownership—all being critical to fund-raising success.
What are the Foundation's investment objectives?
A clear Statement of Investment Policy, Objectives and Guidelines directs the Foundation's Investment Committee, appointed by the Board of Directors of the Foundation, in the supervision, guidance and investment management of the assets of the Foundation entrusted to the Committee. It is the goal of the aggregate General Endowment Fund assets to exceed:
- An absolute rate of return of 10%;
- Meet or exceed the blended market index selected and agreed upon by the Investment Committee; and
- A total rate of return equivalent to the upper quintiles of the returns reported by public institutions of similar size in the National Association of Colleges and Universities Business Officers (NACUBO) report over various time frames.
How does the Foundation manage gifts?
When a donor establishes an endowed fund, the gift is invested for long-term growth. The funds earning of 5.25% of a five year average market value of the General Endowment Fund is distributed according to the purpose the donor chooses. If the income is unrestricted, the Foundation can direct the funds to be used where the greatest needs exist in consultation with the University. For funds that are not endowed, both the principal and the earnings can be directed to the appropriate University entity or department.
What are the Foundation's total assets?
The Foundation manages more than 1,300 named endowment funds and has assets as of June 30, 2011 totaling nearly $184 million, which includes over 7,000 acres of forest land held for the College of Natural Sciences, Forestry and Agriculture.
How much does the Foundation pay to the University each year?
For the past five years, the support from the Foundation to the University has averaged $6.4 million per year from the endowment.
What are the Foundation's investment returns?
The investment return for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011 of the Foundation's General Endowment Fund was 20.18%, with an average 5-year return of 3.49% and a 10 year return of 5.07%. Our goal is to be in the upper quintiles of all public universities of our size as determined by NACUBO.
Does the Foundation charge a fee for its services?
The Foundation normally charges the General Endowment Fund a fee of approximately 1.25% each year to fund its operations, which is generally less than is charged by other University-related foundations. The Board working with the Budget Committee sets the fee annually based on a variety of factors. The actual fee charged to endowment was 1.23% as of June 30, 2011. In addition, a fee of approximately 100 basis points (1%) is paid to the investment consultants and managers. During FY 2011, the Foundation was able to put that fee to good use—receiving 2,080 gifts totaling over $6.6 million. The average annual cost for the Foundation to raise one dollar was $.089 over the last five years. This amount does not include bequest commitments.
How do you make sure that a bequest will be directed to the University of Maine Foundation?
In a will or trust, the following language is suggested:
(A percentage or specific amount) to the UNIVERSITY OF MAINE FOUNDATION for the benefit of the University of Maine, Orono, Maine to establish the (name of fund) as described in the fund description on file at the University of Maine Foundation.
How do you make a gift to benefit the University of Maine?
If the Foundation accepts gifts for any purpose at the University, we will ensure that those gifts are directed to the appropriate University entity or department. Gifts to establish an endowed fund or to add to an existing fund should be made payable to the University of Maine Foundation and mailed to: University of Maine Foundation, Two Alumni Place, Orono, ME 04469-5792. To make a gift of stock, please call our office for stock transfer instructions. To explore one of the gift vehicles that provides tax advantages while providing a life income (such as a charitable remainder trust, charitable gift annuity or pooled life income fund) or any other planned gift, please call our Planned Giving Officers toll free at 1-800-982-8503 in Orono or 1-800-449-2629 in Falmouth.
Can I make gifts to other charities through the University of Maine Foundation?
The Foundation is here to assist our alumni and friends with their other philanthropic interests. You can make gifts directly to the charities of your choice through the Foundation or you can set up a Donor-Advised Fund through the Donor-Advised Fund Program at the University of Maine Foundation.
What is the University of Maine Donor-Advised Fund Program?
The University of Maine Donor-Advised Fund Program is a tool to assist donors in managing their philanthropy. When donors use a Donor-Advised Fund to consolidate charitable giving, the University of Maine Foundation receives, invests, and manages gifts to multiple qualified charities on the donors’ behalf. Upon making an irrevocable gift to a Donor-Advised Fund, a donor receives a tax deduction in the year the gift is made and may recommend that grants from the Fund be made to the University of Maine and other qualified charities over a number of years as charitable needs and interests arise.
What can you expect from the UMF?
- Efficient and responsive service to inquiries and requests
- Comprehensive assistance in charitable and estate planning from qualified staff
- Preparation of a fund description or gift agreement
- Annual report detailing your fund's progress
- Individualized attention and expressions of appreciation
- Monitoring and accountability for use of gifts and funds
- Carrying out the wishes of the donor in perpetuity
- Assurance under Donor Bill of Rights
- Oversight of a Stewardship Committee
The University of Maine Foundation, acting as a separate organization, will work collaboratively with all entities to encourage philanthropic support by growing the endowment through planned/deferred giving for the University of Maine and other charitable organizations while carrying out the donor’s wishes in perpetuity.