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  • As an independent, nonprofit organization and the official fundraising foundation for the University of Kansas, KU Endowment partners with donors in providing philanthropic support to build a greater KU. Established in 1891 as America’s first foundation for a public university, we embrace our responsibility to inspire philanthropy for KU, and we are committed to following the highest standards of service and ethical conduct when it comes to managing donors’ gifts for the benefit of the university.

    The support of donors helps make KU a world-class institution. State financing covers less than 20 percent of KU’s total operating expenses. Therefore, private gifts play a major role in virtually all activities of the university.

    You also can see an overview or organization and what we do in our Building a Greater University brochure (pdf).

    Operating expenses: Many university foundations cover operating costs by charging fees on gifts, but we allocate 100 percent of the principal of every gift for the purpose designated by the donor. We cover operating expenses through a small number of unrestricted funds, as well as a portion of the return on our investments.

    An independent organization: KU Endowment is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization, separate from the university and the State of Kansas. Independence helps to ensure that gifts will be used as donors intended and will not be reallocated by the state. Moreover, it allows us to keep donors’ personal giving and financial records private.

    While we work closely with the KU Alumni Association, we are two distinct organizations.

    Endowed funds: Each year, KU Endowment transfers income from endowed funds, along with gifts from donors, to the university’s four campuses. The overall endowment is made up of approximately 2,700 individual funds. The overwhelming majority of these funds were restricted by donors; they can be used only for the purpose designated by the donor. The goal for endowed funds and other long-term investments is to provide a consistent level of support for the university in perpetuity.

    People: About 190 people carry out KU Endowment’s daily work. They include more than 140 full-time staff members and about 50 KU students who call potential donors as part of our annual giving telephone campaigns. In addition, 80 people serve on the Advancement Board, which supports KU Medical Center and The University of Kansas Hospital, and more than 70 people serve on the KU Endowment Board of Trustees, which governs KU Endowment.

    If you have any questions about KU Endowment, please feel free to contact us at 785-832-7400 or givetoku@kuendowment.org.