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DeAnna Carlson Zink, CEO of the UND Alumni Association and Foundation, displays historic pottery from UND's Margaret Cable collection in her office in the Gorecki Alumni Center. Eric Hylden / Forum News Service

UND Alumni Association and Foundation raises $67.7 million, sets fundraising record

GRAND FORKS — The UND Alumni Association and Foundation has raised a record $67.7 million during its latest fiscal year, which ended June 30.

The record is nearly twice the amount brought in the previous year. The previous record was $49.9 million set in fiscal year 2011. The endowment now sits at $284.8 million.

Of that $67.7 million, $12.2 million has been committed for scholarships and $34.2 million has been committed for program, faculty and priority needs, according to the foundation.

The total includes direct gifts as well as pledges made through legacy gifts that will be fulfilled following a donor’s passing.

“I can’t say I’m surprised by the loyalty and passion that our alumni and friends have for this university, but I am blown away by the generosity we saw during the previous fiscal year,” DeAnna Carlson Zink, CEO of the foundation, said in a statement. “It truly is a gift to be able to work with donors who believe so strongly in transforming the lives of UND’s outstanding students.”

More than 9,000 donors gave gifts in the 2019 fiscal year, including 846 first-time donors with the most donations coming from North Dakota and Minnesota, according to the foundation. California ranked third in the donor count, Colorado and Arizona rounded out the top five states. However, Carlson Zink said the university received donations from all 50 states.


UND interim President Joshua Wynne said the philanthropic generosity of UND’s “alumni and other friends of the university is incredibly humbling,” adding the university is “thankful for such amazing support.”

“I think that the reason it was such a banner year is that the trajectory of the university is widely perceived as in the right direction,” Wynne said, noting the university’s strategic plan has been vetted both internally and externally.

“(The donors) are on board with the direction of the university, and we are on board with their generosity in helping to support our students and faculty,” said Wynne, adding that the donations are “reflection of the passion and commitment to this great university. This financial support is invaluable for the university in providing opportunities for the next generations of students.”

“It’s also instrumental in elevating the University of North Dakota as a premier institution that focuses on research excellence and community engagement,” he said.

The foundation has set a goal of raising $55 million this fiscal year, Carlson Zink said.

“We will really be focused on finalizing the fundraising on the new College of Business and Public Administration building,” she said, noting that the university has to raise $30 million in order to receive matching funds from the state. “That is our goal for this fiscal year, so our fundraising will focus around that, but of course we’re always focused on scholarships for all colleges on campus and also endowed faculty position.”

An anonymous donor and his wife have committed $20 million to the business school project if the state matches an additional $20 million. The total cost of the building is expected to be around $70 million.

The UND Alumni Association and Foundation will be holding a State of the Foundation address at 4:30 p.m. Aug. 27 at the Gorecki Alumni Center. The event is open to the community.