May 02 2014


This will go down as a record-breaking year for fundraising at the University of Montana. The UM Foundation has received $37.4 million in donations and pledges this fiscal year, which began July 1. This breaks a record set in 2008, when fundraising totaled $36.7 million. This year’s total comes from 10,000 individual gifts.

“We are tremendously grateful to all who have contributed this year,” said UM President Royce Engstrom. “Many of these donations will provide scholarships and fund faculty positions for generations to come.”

The UM Foundation includes cash gifts and pledges in its fundraising totals. About half of the fundraising total is comprised of estate commitments. This means the donor has pledged to leave the University a portion of his or her estate. The University will receive those gifts in the future.

Many individuals stepped forward with sizable cash gifts and pledges. These include:

  • $5 million for a scholarship endowment from an anonymous donor.
  • $2.4 million from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation for a pilot of EdReady, an online college-prep curriculum.
  • $1 million for scholarships for nontraditional students from the Bernard and Barbro Foundation.
  • $800,000 for scholarships for law students from Zander and Andy Blewett, of Great Falls.
  • $850,000 to archive the congressional papers of former Sen. Max Baucus.

“This unprecedented level of giving demonstrates the trust our alumni and friends have in President Engstrom, his administration and the faculty,” said Michael McDonough, chair of the UM Foundation Board of Trustees. “We also have seen the deep passion our alumni have for supporting students with scholarships.”       

Last July, Engstrom and the UM Foundation launched a three-year initiative called Investing in Student Success. This year’s fundraising total includes $20.3 million toward the initiative. The rest of the gifts and pledges are for programs and support for faculty across the University.

“The groundwork laid by many people in the past has led to this year’s success,” said Shane Giese, president and CEO of the UM Foundation. “There is so much more to be done. This is just the beginning of the Foundation’s increased support for this great University.”

The UM Foundation is the fundraising arm for the University. The Foundation focuses on increasing support for the University’s strategic goals. It is led by a 40-member Board of Trustees composed of alumni and friends from across the country.