Foundation reports record fundraising year

Ramsey family member Helen Haas at campus celebration (with portrait of Oliver Ramsey)

Ramsey family member Helen Haas at campus celebration (with portrait of Oliver Ramsey)

The UW-Eau Claire Foundation received more than $9 million — the largest annual amount received in Foundation history — during its recently completed fiscal year.

New gifts received during 2012-13 but not pledged in previous years were counted toward the $60 million goal of the Foundation’s Power of Possible Centennial Campaign in support of people, programs and places at UW-Eau Claire. The campaign, announced last September, has raised $30.5 million so far and will run through Dec. 31, 2016, during the university’s centennial year.

The $9 million received between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, was $3 million more than the Foundation’s previous record fundraising total in 2003-04. The successful year can be attributed in large part to the realization of two major estate gifts: $3 million (of an estimated expected total of $4.3 million) from the trust of Lt. Col. George L. Simpson Jr. and $1.5 million from the estate of James and Anne Ramsey, said Kimera Way, Foundation president.

Lt. Col. George L. Simpson

George Simpson

The Ramsey gift made possible a first for the Foundation: a permanently endowed faculty chair in UW-Eau Claire’s College of Arts and Sciences. The gift will support the Oliver M. Ramsey Endowed Chair, a senior faculty position in biomedical science, as part of UW-Eau Claire’s collaborative focus on health care careers and education.

While the Ramsey chair directly supports faculty, the Simpson gift has created endowed funds in athletics and the department of geography and anthropology.

Ralph Duxbury

Ralph Duxbury

Also included in last year’s fundraising total was a $270,000 gift from UW-Eau Claire alumnus Ralph Duxbury, which is a portion of his more than $1 million pledge to support several university programs. His gift established UW-Eau Claire’s first endowed fund for faculty success, the Duxbury Biology Faculty Success Fund.

A major gift from UW-Eau Claire alumni Tom and Jeannie Flesch of Columbus, Ohio, will fully fund a new main university gateway, which is part of the university’s campus master plan to create distinguishable gateway entrances to campus. The main gateway project will incorporate a new campus visitor center.

Jeannie and Tom Flesch

Jeannie and Tom Flesch

Many of the major gifts received were in support of student scholarships — either new or existing ones. Duxbury’s estate gift made possible the full endowment of UW-Eau Claire’s Wisconsin Academic Excellence Scholarship program when combined with a number of other endowed WAES funds that have been established over the years.

Blugold Promise Scholarships, which support students with financial need, continued to be a favorite gift designation for donors during 2012-13, and donors also embraced the university commitment to global awareness and supported scholarships for students participating in study abroad and domestic cultural immersion experiences.

The Foundation also benefited from the generosity of those who made gifts-in-kind, such as the jazz music collection donated in part by Edward “Pete” Petersen, a big-band leader from Arlington, Texas. The collection, now named the John L. Buchholz Jazz Library and housed in Special Collections at UW-Eau Claire’s McIntyre Library for use by music educators and students, is one of the nation’s largest collections of charts and recordings by many of the biggest names in jazz.