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Colorado Mesa University Foundation Endowment Hits All-Time High

CMU endowed funds surpasses $50 million, making university more attainable for all students

Higher education is a substantial investment for many families. To ease the financial burden and open more doors for students looking to earn a certificate or degree, Colorado Mesa University has found creative ways to reach donors in order to support future learners. And those efforts paid off. The value of endowed funds at the Colorado Mesa University Foundation has hit a high-water mark of more than $50 million. These endowed scholarships allow CMU to reach more students and make higher education more attainable for those who need it the most.

“These endowed scholarships are the backbone of our ability to continue increasing the number of students and amount of assistance provided to students at CMU and Western Colorado Community College," said CMU Foundation CEO Robin Brown. "Last year 1,111 students received in excess of $3.3 million in scholarships; the highest amount in the Foundation’s history."

Endowed funds are established by a donated principal amount, which is invested and then the annual earnings are used to perpetually fund scholarship awards to students. One of the benefits of endowed funds is they do not have to be raised year after year. Therefore, they provide stable, reliable support to students so they can focus on their studies and stress less about their bills. In essence the donor gives one gift, and the financial markets do the heavy lifting from then on into perpetuity.

Many donors establish endowed funds exactly for this idea of permanence.

“CMU Foundation does a great job of letting us know which students get our scholarships and how they are doing in their major studies," said donor Jim Branscome, who started an endowed scholarship. "Knowing students now and in the future, who I will never meet, will continue to receive support from my gift makes me feel good about my donation and also greatly magnifies the number of lives it will impact.”

Establishing endowed funds with the Foundation means less debt for students after they graduate. It means more people in western Colorado can afford to go to college. Reaching this 50-million-dollar mark further demonstrates that the community believes in the institution and wants to see a better future for the next generation.

“Reaching $50 million not only highlights the confidence our alumni and partners have in our efforts, it also allows us to help students who would otherwise be left on the sidelines get in the classroom; especially those who are the first in their family to go to college. Endowments provide stability for universities during very unstable times,” said CMU President John Marshall.

Since 1961 donors have established 275 endowed scholarships. Those funds, along with the interest earned, make up this total amount. Reaching this milestone of $50 million is significant in that it provides an economy of scale and reduces the cost of managing those assets, providing more net returns to be used for the students’ benefit. Organizations such as the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) also consider the size of endowed funds in their categorization of universities. In the most recent NACUBO study report, the CMU Foundation was in the top 10% among all institutions participating for percentage change in endowment market value, however the endowed amount per student— a measurement used to compare universities— is still considerably lower than peer universities.

“It’s an incredible milestone that is worth celebrating. When we’re done celebrating, we’ll set a new goal to double it. That will allow us to bring in more faculty, conduct important research, be more competitive in our athletic programs and continue to provide incredible opportunities for our students and our community,” said Brown.

For those interested in learning more about, or establishing an endowed fund at the CMU Foundation, should contact Robin Brown at [email protected] or call 970.248.1410.



Written by Staff