UW-Superior Foundation FAQs
University of Wisconsin – Superior Foundation, Inc.
To secure, invest and manage financial resources that support exceptional opportunities for the University of Wisconsin-Superior, its students, faculty, and facilities.
In addition to executing the mission, some basic duties of the Foundation are:
- balance the budget
- execute donor wishes
- oversee and manage investment assets
- meet financial obligations
- obtain annual audit by independent accounting firm
- maintain effective internal control environment
The Foundation is a private foundation. It is a non-stock, not-for-profit entity and is incorporated under Chapter 181 of the laws of the State of Wisconsin. It is also registered as a § 501c3 not-for-profit corporation within the meaning and provisions of the Internal Revenue Code of the United States. The legal name is University of Wisconsin – Superior Foundation, Inc. and its office is located on the UW-Superior campus in Superior, Wisconsin.
The Foundation’s annual meeting is held in September or October in Superior, Wisconsin. The Board of Directors also meets two or three other times during each year.
The Foundation has three categories of Directors: (1) Voting Director; (2) ex officio Director; and (3) Emeritus Director. Ex officio and Emeritus Directors are not eligible to vote on matters that come before the Board.
The Voting Directors (not less than ten and no more than thirty) control and manage the affairs and business of the Foundation. Directors may reside at any location. A Voting Director’s term of office is three years. Upon the recommendation of the Governance Committee, the Board may elect a Voting Director for three consecutive terms.
The Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Superior and the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement may be non-voting ex officio Board members. An Emeritus Director is a distinguished former Voting Director.
The Foundation officers, who are elected from the Voting Directors, are the President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary. The immediate Past President also serves as an Officer. The UW-Superior Vice Chancellor for University Advancement may serve as the Executive Director of the Foundation and as the liaison between the Foundation and the university.
The Foundation has three standing committees: (1) Advancement (plans approaches to solicit/acquire contributions and steward donors); (2) Governance (makes recommendations for the Foundation’s corporate governance): and (3) Finance (informs and advises the Board of Directors on financial matters.)
After evaluating the qualifications of each Director candidate, any Director or other individual may suggest an individual to the Chair of the Governance Committee for election as a Director. The Governance Committee brings the name of a Director candidate before the Board of Directors for vote. Once the Board decides to approve the appointment of a new Director, the Governance Committee assigns a mentor to the new Director for the purposes of orientation and guidance for the first year
The goal of the Board is 100% participation in a gift amount of each Director’s choosing. As a § 501c3 not-for-profit corporation within the meaning and provisions of the Internal Revenue Code, contributions to the Foundation may be tax deductible to the extent of state and federal law.
Yes. Please refer to the Foundation Gift Policy and contact a member of the Advancement staff for further details.
The Foundation is connected to the university’s fundraising, alumni relations and development operations. Through a full spectrum of fundraising programs, the Foundation provides resources that advance the mission of the university. The Foundation’s sole purpose is to support the university and encourage and manage gifts (receive, invest and guarantee good stewardship) for the benefit of the university and its community.
The Foundation is a legally separate entity from the university and must maintain appropriate, legally mandated independence from the responsibilities of the university. As such, the Foundation has no formal or legal role in the governance of the university, the setting of academic priorities, payment of university employees or other matters that are part of the university’s responsibilities. Likewise, the university does not have a formal or legal role in the governance of the Foundation.
The Foundation works closely with the Alumni Association but the Alumni Association is a separate entity. The Alumni Association works to foster life-long pride and loyalty among alumni and friends by offering opportunities to strengthen their continued relationships with the university.
By executing its mission and following donor intent. In FY17, the Foundation supported the university with over $1.2 million, broken down between scholarships and other institutional/programmatic support. In addition, the Foundation funds its own annual operating budget ($450,000) as does the Alumni Association ($77,000).
Endowment Funds result from donor contributions which are made for a particular purpose, such as a specific scholarship, and are established as a permanently restricted fund by the donor.
Board Designated Funds are funds that the donor does not designate as permanently restricted, but because of their nature and purpose, are designated as such by the Foundation Board of Directors.
Unless expressly instructed or authorized by the donor, for both endowed and board designated funds, the original gift remains intact and only the investment income generated may be used for the payment of administration fees, investment management fees and for the donor’s or the Foundation’s stated purpose. The earnings from the endowment funds are used to fund the criteria established for each fund. The principal (or charitable contribution amount) is not distributed and the fund lives into perpetuity. A Foundation spending policy is used to calculate annual distributions from each fund – currently 4% of the trailing 3-year average June 30 market values of each fund – as long as that amount is less than the accumulated earnings of the fund. The minimum amount to establish an endowment fund is $10,000.
The Foundation’s investment and financial management firm manages the endowment funds.
Temporary Restricted Funds consist of contributions restricted to a specific use but are expected to be completely used within a short period of time. (E.g. a building fund) Earnings from temporary restricted funds are credited to the unrestricted fund.
Unrestricted Funds are funds from donor contributions without a specific designation. Fees and interest earned from temporary funds and certain other funds are credited to the unrestricted fund. Unrestricted funds are used to fund the administration of the Foundation in compliance with its annual budget. Funds are also used for university institutional support and undergraduate research.
As of June 30, 2017, total assets grew to over $16 million.
There are presently 23 academic and non-academic university scholarship committees that award scholarships. Each scholarship committee receives a Foundation report in January that summarizes its scholarships and the criteria for each, along with the award amounts. Each scholarship committee accepts student applications and from those reviews and selects the student recipients that best meet the stated criteria. The number of scholarships per committee varies.
Each scholarship committee forwards its recommended student recipient applications to the Advancement Office where the scholarship amounts and criteria are verified. The Advancement Office then notifies the student recipients of their selection along with the scholarship name, contact person(s) and the amount of the scholarship.
The university business office invoices the Foundation after the scholarships post to student accounts. The Foundation submits payment to the university.
The donor receives an annual scholarship report packet each November that includes:
- A thank you letter co-signed by the Foundation President and Finance Committee Chair that includes investment performance information and other economic info, a financial report of the fund which includes beginning balance, contributions received, market gains/losses, administrative fee charged, scholarship amount awarded, and an ending balance – as of June 30 of each year, a summary of the scholarship criteria and the names and award amounts for the student recipients
- A thank you letter from the Chancellor
- Student thank you letters
Temporary restricted funds whose distribution is determined by donor wishes. The Foundation has many institutional funds and each has a fund manager who administers the fund according to the Advancement Office document called the Foundation Fund Management Guideline. The Foundation reports the activity of these funds to the respective fund manager. Examples of these funds include: athletic team funds and academic/ program specific funds.
The Foundation operating budget is not funded by the university. It is partially funded by unrestricted “Superior Fund” gifts and an administrative fee charged on endowment funds – currently 2.25%. The Vice Chancellor for University Advancement approves all expense payments, and any payment request of $5,000 or greater is additionally approved by the Foundation President and Chair of the Finance Committee.