Record Year for UM Fundraising

It’s one for the record books — private support to the University of Montana reached an all-time high. More than 13,000 individuals, businesses and foundations helped us raise $53.7 million during fiscal year 2014. We couldn’t have done it without our many donors, alumni and friends— thank you!

Private donations to the University support everything from student scholarships to research, facilities and athletics.

“We are an innovative university focused on providing outstanding education, and our donors are responding in record amounts and record numbers to the direction we are headed,” says UM President Royce Engstrom. “I am proud of the work of our Foundation, our faculty, our staff and our students, and I deeply appreciate the dedication of our donors.”

Main Hall

This year’s total includes cash gifts, pledges and estate gifts made to the UM Foundation; private funding secured through the University’s Office of Research; and gifts made to the KUFM pledge drive.

“We are indebted to the work of many people, including the UM Foundation Board of Trustees, our staff and the University administration for their past efforts,” says Shane Giese, president and CEO of the UM Foundation. “They have positioned us well for this year’s success and the accomplishments to come.”

In July 2013 the University and the Foundation set out to raise $45 million over a three-year period for students. After one year, the Investing in Student Success initiative has garnered $22 million, most of which supports endowed scholarships and fellowships.

Scholarships are available for students from different backgrounds and in a plethora of academic units. Support will benefit those with financial need and help recruit top scholars from around the country.

“Supporters of the University, both alumni and friends, have been extremely generous this year,” says Michael McDonough, chair of the UM Foundation Board of Trustees. “They recognize the importance of higher education and its impact on people’s lives, and they know their gifts to UM will have that positive impact. We are grateful for each of these gifts, as collectively they help support tens of thousands of current and future students.”

Endowed scholarships are especially impactful, as they provide monetary support for students in perpetuity. In addition many donors choose to make a gift through a provision in their wills or estate plans, which helps the University plan for the future.

“We are grateful for every gift, large and small, because they all make a difference,” says Giese.

Giese notes that when the economy improves, so does giving. Nationwide, private support for education increased 7.4 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to “Giving USA,” a report compiled by the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

“There is so much more for the Foundation to do,” he says. “This is just the beginning of its increased support for this great University.”

The year's largest cash gifts and pledges were as follows:

  • $5 million for a scholarship endowment from an anonymous donor.
  • $2.4 million for EdReady, an online collegeprep program, from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.
  • $1.5 million for a professorship in the School of Journalism from the friends and family of T. Anthony Pollner.
  • $1 million for a scholarship endowment to support nontraditional students from the Bernard and Barbro (Osher) Foundation.
  • $1 million for facilities for student-athletes from an anonymous donor.
  • $850,000 from former U.S. Sen. Max Baucus’ campaign fund to archive his congressional papers.
  • $800,000 for scholarships for law students from Zander and Andy Blewett, of Great Falls, Montana.

Read stories about more gifts at