Foundation and University Relations

FAQ: Foundation and University Relations

If the University of New Mexico is a public institution, why does it need private financial support?

Like most other state universities today, the University of New Mexico receives a small percent of its annual budget directly from the state. Since UNM is state-assisted, not state supported, the remainder of its operating revenues comes from other sources such as student tuition and fees, federal and state grants and the generosity of UNM donors. State dollars are diminishing as a percentage of the University's budget as higher education continues to compete with many other demands on state revenue. With continued tuition increases over the last decade, UNM must be cautious about additional tuition increases that might deny deserving students the chance to receive a UNM education. Because state support is declining relative to the University's total operating budget and limited increases can be expected in tuition, private gifts are becoming increasingly important to UNM. Donors who recognize this increasing need provide resources for scholarships, fellowships and endowed faculty positions that help UNM attract and retain the brightest students and the best professors in their field of study. Private donors are significant partners in advancing new programs, supporting important research and building world-class health care for all New Mexicans.

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What is the difference between the UNM Foundation and the UNM Alumni Association?

The UNM Foundation and the UNM Alumni Association work in tandem in several capacities and on a number of interrelated projects annually. While both the UNM Foundation and the UNM Alumni Association exist to serve the University, their missions, goals and operations are distinctly different. The Foundation exists to be the fund raising arm of the University and is specifically organized to provide management, reporting and stewardship services that donors require. Its mission is to promote excellence at UNM by raising, investing and managing private gifts through the cultivation of long-term partnerships with donors and matching their interests to the University's priorities. While the Foundation interacts extensively with alumni, its potential donor base also includes a variety of other supporters including corporations, foundations, students, parents and many other friends of the University. The UNM Alumni Association is also a 501(c) (3) organization and is staffed by a department of the University of New Mexico. The Alumni Association represents more than 155,000 alumni living throughout the world and alumni chapters across the United States. The UNM Alumni Association is governed by a national board of 36 members and four ex-officio members. The board is charged with guiding the Association "to be a vital partner in the continued excellence of the University of New Mexico through the significant engagement of alumni."

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What is the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the UNM Foundation and the University?

The MOA is the guiding document that outlines the way the Foundation and University have agreed to work together. Review the Memorandum of Agreement here.

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Why is the Foundation separate from the University?

The UNM Foundation is specifically organized to provide independent management, reporting and stewardship services that donors require. Donors receive many benefits from this separate organization, including:
  • Central management of these services results in greater efficiency and use of operational funds.
  • Allows development staff to be disciplined and solely focused on fund raising and effectiveness on behalf of their respective University programs and initiatives.

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Why should I give to the UNM Foundation instead of directly to UNM?

Giving to the UNM Foundation instead of directly to UNM ensures all funds are used according to your specific requests and not mixed with state provided dollars. Private funds held by the UNM Foundation offer the University greater flexibility in the timing and nature of expenditures. The UNM Foundation manages millions of dollars in endowment funds, so the return on these investments contributes significantly to the private support available to UNM. Unlike appropriated dollars, gift funds can be invested in equities and other instruments for long-term growth. These generally earn a significantly higher rate of return than appropriated dollars since state statutes limit how appropriated funds can be invested. The difference in earnings can be substantial, allowing donors to provide greater support for UNM students, faculty and staff. The purpose of the UNM Foundation, a 501(c) (3) non-profit, public-benefit corporation, is to cultivate and administer private financial support for the University of New Mexico. To facilitate this purpose, the University's Board of Regents established the UNM Foundation, Inc. in 1979, and the Foundation began operations in the spring of 1980. In accordance with University policy, all private gifts are received through the UNM Foundation.

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