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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

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UT System sets regional example for stewardship of gifts and donations

AUSTIN - The University of Texas System’s Endowment Compliance Program was recently recognized by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Southwest Region, for the program’s success in annual endowment donor reporting.

Randa Safady, UT System vice chancellor for external relations, updated the UT Board of Regents at its meeting today on the program’s annual performance, including the 2013 CASE award.

“We are honored by the recognition and more gratified to know that the hard work by each of the institutions ensures that every gift from our generous donors reaches its intended beneficiaries and ultimately raises the level of excellence throughout UT’s 15 institutions,” Safady said.

UT institutions have a total of 11,503 endowments worth $7.7 billion that support everything from scholarships, to faculty positions and specific programs.

The UT System’s endowment compliance program is a leader in the field and serves as a model for accountability and stewardship. Safady told the Regents she often gets calls from peer universities who are interested in the program and would like to emulate it. She credited the endowment compliance teams at each university for setting high performance standards. 

“This is about doing the right thing,” said UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa. “We want our donors to know their support is important to us and they can rest assured that we are using their resources wisely. Nothing is more important than the public trust.”

The program was launched in 2001 with a mission to strengthen gift stewardship, promote compliance with laws, policies and endowment agreements, and increase effectiveness of available resources. All endowments held by the Board of Regents are reviewed and approved by UT System.

Each endowment is reviewed at least every three years, although many are reviewed annually, to ensure there are no inappropriate expenditures and that funds are being spent rather than accumulated, and are evaluated for other risks as well. In fiscal year 2012, 60 percent of endowments were reviewed – the highest number in a single year since the program began.

Also this year, 99 percent of donors received annual endowment reports that provide detailed information about their contribution, how it’s performing, and how the proceeds are being used. Safady said she is aiming for 100 percent next year.

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2012 enrollment of roughly 216,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.9 billion (FY 2013) including $3.1 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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