The University of Wisconsin Foundation is the official fundraising and gift-receiving organization for the University of Wisconsin–Madison. The Foundation is the university’s development and financial partner.
The UW Foundation is a private, nonprofit corporation that encourages individuals and organizations to make gifts and grants to the university. The Foundation was created and is governed by a board of UW–Madison alumni and donors. Established in 1945, the UW Foundation became a division of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association in 2014 following a merger with the Wisconsin Alumni Association, which was founded in 1861.
Each year, the UW Foundation transfers gift and investment income to UW–Madison. (You can learn more about these transfers and other fundraising information in our annual reports.) These funds support campus priorities, including scholarships, building projects, research efforts, and the initiatives of specific schools, colleges, and programs.
The Foundation staff believes that private support grows out of good relationships between those on campus who need support and the alumni and friends who want to invest in UW–Madison. Foundation staff members nurture those relationships, and administrators, faculty, and staff members on campus are vital partners in our fundraising efforts. We work with campus to understand university priorities, encourage gifts to fund those priorities, and help donors find the right fit for their philanthropy.
What are the differences among the UW Foundation, WAA, WARF, UW System Trust Funds, and UW Medical Foundation?
WAA, or the Wisconsin Alumni Association, is a partner organization to the UW Foundation. After merging in 2014, the two are now divisions of the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association. WAA provides important engagement opportunities that link UW–Madison alumni to each other and to their alma mater.
WARF, or the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, is a private, nonprofit organization that supports scientific research at UW–Madison. It patents university inventions, licenses technologies to companies for commercialization, and returns licensing fees to campus to support further research.
UW System Trust Funds consist of gifts made to the UW System Board of Regents, the governing body for the entire UW System: 13 two-year campuses and 13 four-year campuses (including UW–Madison). The gifts in the trust fund are not designated to the UW Foundation or any other foundation of a UW System institution.
UWMF, or the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation, is the clinical practice organization for faculty physicians at UW–Madison’s School of Medicine and Public Health.
The Case for Private Support
As the funding model for public universities has shifted, the University of Wisconsin–Madison has become increasingly reliant on private gifts. It’s through the support of alumni and friends that the UW will continue to offer educational experiences that have the power to change the world.
Philanthropy ensures that the UW–Madison educational experience continues to be one of the best in the world. It helps to make many programs and projects possible. Private support also sustains the university’s core missions of teaching, research, and public service. Gifts fund scholarships and fellowships for students and help the UW to recruit and retain faculty.
The All Ways Forward Campaign
Between 2013 and 2020, UW–Madison is pursuing a comprehensive fundraising campaign in partnership with the UW Foundation. Titled All Ways Forward, the campaign is raising money to help the university meet its four strategic priorities:
- Providing student support
- Improving the student experience
- Maintaining faculty excellence
- Supporting research and innovation
Alumni and friends who make a gift help to ensure that UW–Madison will never stop transforming lives. Contributions of any size make a big difference. They are investments in the future of the university and the students, faculty, and staff who will shape the future of Wisconsin and the world.
You can learn more about the campaign on the All Ways Forward website.