Here’s some examples of the growing trend of universities using private donations to fund their programs.
UNM held a fashion show back in November 20th 1999 to raise funds for one of its libraries.
The “Fashion for the 21st Century” event featured apparel from Elsa Ross modeled by professional models from the Eaton Agency. Emcees were Deanna Sauceda of Channel 13 and T.J. Trout of 94 Rock. This was organized by the Development and Public Affairs Department of UNM General Library under director Lynn Trojahn, which organizes a fundraiser each year to benefit a different branch. That year the money was used for collections and beautification. So the quiet study rooms of Zimmerman were transformed into “a raucous New York style show, complete with well-dressed guests, music, and, of course, fabulous desserts and champagne.” Further, “everyone gets to feel a little naughty about eating and drinking in the library” at this event sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank which $30 gets you a ticket. (1)
Also in 1999 UNM received a $3 million grant from Ford Motor Company for its schools of business and engineering, then the largest corporate gift ever given to the university. (“Gifts and Bequests.” Chronicle of Higher Education. January 28, 2000. Pg. A41.) In December 17th of that year Ford executive John Mendel presented a $3 million check to then president Gordon for a multi-year commitment to UNM. A press release describes the details of this gift. (2)
Also present that day was Don Chalmers, president of Don Chalmers Ford and later an appointed Regent.
Four UNM departments benefited from the largesse. They included the Career Services Center, which got funds to purchase a web-based job search system as well as twelve Pentium computers. Zimmerman library got money for periodical purchases and student projects.
The biggest recipient included the Robert O. Anderson School of Management, which would receive $1 million from Ford over five years. The money funded renovations for its Career Services Center, support for the Ford Visiting Scholar in Business, and $300,000 in scholarships for MBA and undergraduate business students.
The School of Engineering received $1.7 billion for funding of an Executive boardroom in its Center, support for Holistic Student Program for diversity and minority initiatives in the SOE, and funding for student engineering teams and projects like the “Formula SAE car, the Baja car, the steel bridge contest and the aero design-build-fly competition.” Ford funded other initiatives in the Engineering department also.
The press release also states that Ford’s relationship with UNM began with recruiting in 1991. Also in 1992, “Allan Gilmour, Ford’s first corporate sponsor for UNM, established the Hispanic Scholarship Program at the Anderson Schools of Management and the School of Engineering. Edsel Ford II visited UNM in 1996 to participate in ASM’s Corporate America Speaks series. Ford currently interviews more than 100 business and engineering students each year and awards more than $30,000 in scholarships to UNM undergraduate students.”
From all of these this “gift” from Ford is more like an investment. Ford hopes to get something out of the money it gives. Whether it gets more recruits in Career Services, or engineers to get hired by their company. This makes Ford a rational actor, like any corporation, meaning it has its own self-interests. The problem is when those self-interests conflict with the broader interests of the university communities and society as a whole. This will become more of an issue as corporate funding becomes more prevalent when state funding dries up.
Fundraising and Development Offices
An article in the Daily Lobo in 2002 further explored how UNM was looking to donors for revenue. (3) It begins: “In a time of tight state budgets, a poor economy and the ever-increasing costs of education, institutions are turning toward development as a major way of attracting private donations to compliment state and tuition funding.” It explores the use of Development Offices, which generated $37 million back in 2002.
The money came from private donors and foundations. The development offices are delegated by administrators for the task of fund-raising. The purposes of these offices are to solicit philanthropists and assist with alumni relations. Sara McClure, major gifts manager of the UNM Foundation, says most major contributions from private donors come through these development office solicitations.
The development offices are centered around the UNM Foundation. The Foundation’s purpose is to “account for, raise and receive funds, acknowledge donors and ensure that money given by donors is properly distributed” among the 20 campus development offices.
Of the $37 million raised that year, 6 to 7 million was invested in the Consolidated Investment Fund.
The gifts include both cash and “in-kind” gifts. Donors decide how these will be spent. For example, Hewlett-Packard gave $500,000 in cash and in-kind gifts to the College of Education. Most of it consisted of an entire classroom with laptop computers. The COE set a fundraising goal that year of $650,000 and ended up receiving $1.3 million.
Other funds are spent other ways. The Development officers for the School of Architecture and Planning raised private funds for a new building. The School of Law raised $3 million the previous two years, also for capital improvements.
All of this shows that UNM, like other schools, is increasingly relying on private donations to fund its operations. The state and public sector will no longer directly fund everything. The private sector gets more involved with education. The problem with it is that the private sector will want something in return for its investments, which will cripple the value of education overall.
1. “Fashion Show Fundraiser to be Held in Zimmerman Library.” Press Release, UNM Public Affairs. http://www.unm.edu/~paaffair/news/news%20releases/August17fashionshow.htm (accessed August 24th, 1999)
2. Press Release: UNM Received Multi-million Dollar Grant from Ford Motor Company.” UNM Public Affairs. December 15th, 1999. http://www.unm.edu/~paaffair/news/news%20releases/Dec15ford.htm (accessed December 17, 1999)
3. Holtzman, Clay. “UNM Looks to Donors for Revenue.” Daily Lobo. July 11-17, 2002. pg. 1-2.