Since 1974, the UWM Foundation has endeavored to advance the mission of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) through the solicitation of philanthropic gifts to support students, faculty, campus programming and the community. As good stewards of funds designated for the University, we manage a portfolio currently valued at approximately $80 million, and distribute these funds to the University pursuant to donor wishes.
While philanthropy and asset management remain the core of our mission, the UWM Foundation constantly and increasingly pursues new, innovative avenues to support the University. In 2005, we created an affiliated organization, the UWM Real Estate Foundation (UWMREF), to develop and manage real property for the benefit of the campus. In January 2008, the UWMREF opened the doors to its first 488 bed residence hall, RiverView. Cambridge Commons, the UWMREF’s second residence hall opened to students in the fall of 2010. In addition to providing 700 student beds, Cambridge Commons is also the new home of the UWM Foundations. We are proud that we have not only helped to meet the need for additional student housing and more classroom space, but have done so without the infusion of tax dollars. This also allowed the UW System to lift the waiver that had been granted to UWM, because there was not sufficient housing to mandate that freshmen live on campus. Studies show that freshmen that live on campus have a higher graduation rate than those that do not. UW-Milwaukee and UW-Madison are the only two UW System universities that currently do not mandate that freshmen and sophomores live on campus. The UWMREF also closed on the County Grounds in February 2011. This is the future home of Innovation Park. The City of Wauwatosa will begin construction on roadways and utilities in January 2012 and construction on the first building is scheduled to begin in March 2012. The UWMREF was awarded a $5 million grant from the Economic Development Authority for this Business Accelerator Building.
In addition, the UWM Foundation promotes the University's mission through the support it provides to campus research and research commercialization. In 2006, we created a second affiliated organization, the UWM Research Foundation to foster research and innovation at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, helping it to become an economic engine for Milwaukee. The UWM Research Foundation has created an infrastructure for managing UWM’s intellectual property, awarded over $3 million to seed promising projects, provided support for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers and helped foster a culture of innovation at UWM. These investments are beginning to pay off with a growing portfolio of over 100 active intellectual property matters, 12 issued or allowed patents, over 50 patent applications, the completion of eight license agreements, two startup companies, five copy righted licenses and five option agreements.
The UWM Foundation is a dynamic and increasingly important organization devoted to the success of the University. I am honored to chair the Board of Directors, and invite you to join us in support of this wonderful institution.
F. William Haberman