Gifts to CU on pace for record year

University foundation raises $54.1 million in fiscal first half

By David Milstead, Rocky Mountain News

January 4, 2007

A slew of big gifts has the University of Colorado on pace for a record year of fundraising.

CU said it has raised $54.1 million since July 1, compared with $17.8 million in the last six months of 2005. The university has already passed 75 percent of its annual goal for the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Net gifts had been on a downward trend until 2004-05, when they began to pick up. Last year’s $57.8 million, for the 12 months ended in June, was the highest total in three years.

But the CU Foundation’s quick pace means the school could easily reach its highest total in seven years.

The school raised $84.9 million in fiscal year 2000.

The 30-year-old foundation is a private nonprofit that supplements state funding.

The foundation had $857.7 million in assets as of June 30 and paid out $66 million in support in the fiscal year.

“An improved economy makes people feel wealthy and likely more philanthropic,” said Wayne Hutchens, the longtime Colorado banker who took the foundation’s helm last year. “But they will also give money to an institution they have confidence in. I think people have a lot of confidence in the university’s top management.”

Hutchens acknowledges fund- raising was hurt by the slew of bad headlines CU faced in 2004 and 2005.

Those included allegations of sexual misconduct in the football program, improper practices at the foundation and inflammatory comments made by professor Ward Churchill.

Former U.S. Sen. Hank Brown came in as president and brought Hutchens in to run the foundation. Both are CU alums.

“The donations tend to focus on particular projects and events, but I do get a sense there’s a renewed confidence in the university and the direction it’s going,” Brown said after crediting Hutchens and chancellors M. Roy Wilson and Bud Peterson.

A number of big gifts have helped CU set a record pace:

The Anschutz Foundation donated $25 million for the Anschutz Medical Campus at the University of Colorado at Denver’s Health Sciences Center.

The ALSAM Foundation recently committed $10 million to help with the construction of a new $42 million Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences building on the Anschutz Medical Campus.

The Charles C. and June S. Gates Family Fund donated $4.25 million for stem cell research at the health sciences center.

The Koelbel family has pledged $4 million for the expansion and renovation of the Leeds School of Business.

An anonymous gift of $2.5 million will endow the Children, Youth and Environments Center for Research and Design in the College of Architecture and Planning. It is the largest gift by an individual donor in the history of the university’s downtown Denver campus.

Dick and Jean Engebretson committed $1 million to support renovation and new construction at the Leeds School of Business.

MDC Holdings Foundation donated $1 million to establish the Gilbert Goldstein Fund, which will provide scholarships and fellowships to law students and faculty at the University of Colorado School of Law in Boulder.

David Milstead is finance editor of the Rocky Mountain News. He can be reached at or 303-954-2648.

Copyright 2007, Rocky Mountain News. All Rights Reserved.