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Frequently Asked Questions

How is the Foundation funded?

The Foundation's operating budget comes from four primary sources:

  • A contracted amount paid by the University of Hawaiʻi to the Foundation for fundraising and alumni relations services.
  • An annual assessment on the market value of the endowment. The current endowment administrative fee is 1.5%. The amount is determined annually and is applied quarterly.
  • Interest on short-term investments.
  • A one-time administrative assessment of 5% on all incoming gifts, including endowment gifts and other non-gift income.

How UHF and UH work together

University of Hawaiʻi Foundation (UHF) works closely with university leaders, but is an independent, non-profit foundation that is legally separate from the university and the State of Hawaiʻi. The Foundation is the primary fundraising organization that raises private money for the university, and ensures that gifts are used according to donors' wishes and that funds are managed wisely so future generations will benefit from them.

The University of Hawaiʻi System includes 10 campuses and dozens of educational, training and research centers across the Hawaiian Islands. As the public system of higher education in Hawaiʻi, UH offers opportunities as unique and diverse as our Island home. Visit the UH System website at www.hawaii.edu.

Why am I getting telephone calls from the Foundation?

The student callers in the Foundation's Annual Giving program make calls to:

  • Keep our alumni connected with the university and give our donors the opportunity to speak with students about their shared experiences attending a UH campus.
  • Secure gifts to support the growth of the university.
  • Update the alumni database.

Who governs the Foundation?

The Board of Trustees comprised of leaders in business or civic affairs. Many are UH alumni. Trustees are volunteers and serve without compensation, contributing their time, wisdom, and resources for the university. They provide external oversight of the Foundation's operations. Trustees meet at least four times a year as a body, and also participate in committees throughout the year. The president of the Foundation reports to them.

Who decides how the money is invested?

The Investment Committee of the Foundation's Board of Trustees, working in concert with the Foundation's investment advisor (Cambridge Associates), establishes the strategic asset allocation and selection of investment managers.

How can I afford to help a UH campus or program?

Every single dollar is counted, and serves as an investment in UH. In the fiscal year ending 6/30/15, nearly 30,000 alumni and friends contributed to the UH campus, college or program of their choice, collectively giving more than $129 million to the 10 campuses of the UH System.

What services does the Foundation provide for the University of Hawaiʻi?

As the central fundraising agency for the University of Hawaiʻi System, the Foundation conducts campaigns for university priorities and provides central services to raise funds, manage assets and investments, and administer gift accounts for the university. Additionally, the Office of Alumni Relations at the UH Foundation serves as the primary contact between the 10 campuses of the UH system and its more than 250,000 alumni.

The Foundation:

  • Provides resources and specialists in major gifts and foundation, corporate, and annual and planned giving.
  • Solicits contributions to benefit all units and campuses of the UH System.
  • Conducts feasibility studies and planning for fundraising campaigns.
  • Coordinates relationships with prospective major donors.
  • Acknowledges and thanks all donors.
  • Manages donor recognition and stewardship circles.
  • Produces fundraising proposals.
  • Sponsors donor recognition and stewardship events.
  • Offers professional services to UH departments, donors, and their advisors on planned gifts, wills, and trusts.
  • Provides training for development officers, volunteers, and administrators.
  • Manages investments with a total market value of $270 million.
  • Provides accounting services for more than 6,000 accounts.
  • Process more than 1,200 checks per month.
  • Administers more than 1,800 student aid accounts for the benefit of UH students.
  • Provides IRS-auditable receipts to donors.

Why is there an administrative fee?

It takes money, time, and staff to raise money even for the most noble causes. The UH Foundation is challenged by two simple questions - first, how do we "fund" our fundraising efforts and, second, how do we keep those expenses as low as possible so more of our donor's gift can go to UH? The Foundation plays a pivotal role in raising the resources that will help our university forever fulfill the educational dreams of the people of our state.

UH Foundation charges two fees to help us pay for the work that we do, which is raise funds for the university, manage the funds we raise, and distribute the funds to the university in accordance to the purpose intended by out donors.

  • Effective November 1, 2013, a one-time administrative fee of 5%. For example, if someone makes a gift of $1,000, then $50 goes to the Foundation for operating costs and $950 goes to the purpose designated by the donor. 95% of all the money we raise is used entirely for the purpose intended by the donor. Very little of a donor's gift is used to support the Foundation itself.
  • The second fee is an endowment management fee of 1.5% annually. This fee usually comes from the earnings of the endowment.

Please explain what measures the Foundation has in place to ensure funds for UH are spent properly and for their intended purposes.

  • For each of the 6,000 donor accounts there is documentation that describes how the funds may be used. The University signs the documentation so they are aware of what expenditures may be made from the account.
  • For each account the University assigns at least two account administrators to approve expenditures from the account. The account administrators:
    • ensure all transactions are appropriate, reasonable and conform to the account's purpose.
    • provide accurate and complete supporting documentation
    • provide sufficient documentation to clearly indicate the benefit to the University
  • The Foundation has a policy that describes how the funds may be used.
  • The Foundation reviews the expenditure requests approved by the account administrators to ensure the expenditure:
    • is properly approved
    • has a valid business purpose
    • has the appropriate documentation
    • is in compliance with the Foundation’s spending policy
    • is consistent with the donor's intent
    • The Foundation provides an online system for the account administrators to review and verify the activity for each of their accounts.
If you have other questions, please send email to info@uhfoundation.org.
For Our University, Our Hawai‘i, Our Future