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Survey Results: The Changing Role of Foundations [Infographic]

Survey Results: The Changing Role of Foundations [Infographic]

Public university and college foundations play an important role supporting their parent institutions. In recent years, the structure and role of these foundations have begun to change as has their relationship with their institution.  The recent Quick Governance Survey sought to learn more about the state of foundation and institutional relationships as well common practices regarding presidential compensation, a specific area thought to be changing.

The role of foundations and their boards and the relationship between them and their parent institution is complex and ever-changing.  Most respondents agree that the work of foundations is becoming more closely aligned with their institutions.  For a sizable minority, however, tensions between foundations and institutions are growing, which may be a result of several factors including increased collaboration among the two. Consistent actions among both institutions and foundations will be needed to ensure continual institutional benefits.

IRF_roleThe majority of respondents (86 percent) reported changes over the past five years in the role of foundations and their boards.

  • Foundation boards have assumed greater importance as ambassadors and advocates on behalf of the institution (57 percent).
  • Foundation boards have become more active in fundraising leadership (54 percent).
  • A little over one quarter (27 percent) of all respondents indicated that responsibility for some development functions has been transferred from the institution to the foundation.

IRF_align Relations between foundations and institutions are moving in a positive direction for most respondents.

  • Approximately 81 percent of all respondents agree or strongly agree that the work of foundations and institutions is becoming more closely integrated and aligned.
  • The vast majority of the responding institution presidents (88 percent) and foundation chief executives (79 percent) agree that that institution administrators and boards are increasingly recognizing the value of foundations.
  • A significant minority of respondents (21.5 percent) believe that conflicts or tensions between foundations and institutions are becoming more common.

IRF_compensation A sizable number of foundations provide funds to supplement compensation packages for university or college administrators or staff.

  • Among the responding foundation CEOs, nearly 42 percent indicated that their foundation provides funds to supplement the compensation packages for university or college administrators or staff.  Of those foundations that do provide funds, 41 percent do so for the institution president, 27 percent do so for “others” such as institution development officers, 20 percent for coaches/athletic directors, and 11 percent for deans or other academic administrators.
  • Nearly 66 percent of the responding foundation CEOs indicated that their foundation transfers the money to the institution that oversees and administers compensation.
  • Only 16 percent said that the foundation makes payments directly to the university employee or president.
The survey was sent electronically to individuals at AGB member foundations and public universities and colleges with foundations. Of a total of 220 respondents, 34 percent were foundation CEOs, 30 percent were foundation board members, 19 percent were institutional presidents and other campus administrators, 10 percent were foundation staff, and the remaining 7 percent were “others.”


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