The University of Tennessee Foundation Board of Directors held its annual meeting on June 9, 2023 at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. An overview of the meeting is below and includes key action items voted on by the Board.
University President Remarks
UT System President Randy Boyd provided updates and highlights to the Board, including a 2023 legislative recap. President Boyd outlined capital items in the state budget, including $10.7 million recurring in critical operating funds for the UT Health Science Center, which is the largest recurring increase to any higher education institution via the legislative budget amendment this funding cycle. Boyd noted the passage of UT’s top policy priority, the Higher Education Capital Projects Modernization Act. The measure is focused on creating a more streamlined, efficient path for higher education capital projects, reducing the types of projects that must go to the State Building Commission for approval and allowing for real-time disclosure for certain projects. The measure also raises certain statutory thresholds that will allow routine maintenance items and small projects to move forward more expeditiously.
President Boyd looked forward to initiatives taking place throughout the UT System. He noted upcoming safety tours taking place at all campuses and institutes. Boyd also spoke about an upcoming campaign, in conjunction with all of the four-year public higher education institutions, to promote the value of higher education.
Foundation President Report
UT Foundation President Kerry Witcher shared the progress towards UTFI’s Vision for 2025. The Foundation is 74.8% towards the 1.25B fundraising goal, 99.7% towards the alumni engagement goal and 87.8% towards the advocacy network goal. UTFI is at 108.7% of the donor goal of 77,000.
Witcher also provided an overview of fiscal year 2023 goals and shared that UTFI had exceeded goals in giving, number of donors and engagement. As of May 31, 2023, UTFI has raised $309M from 83,726 donors and has 274,087 engaged alumni.
Lastly, President Witcher reviewed the status of the CRM implementation, which is set to go live in February 2024. Better known to UT Foundation staff members as ACE, which stands for Alumni and Constituent Engagement, the implementation progress is at 60% with testing, training and final data loads coming in the upcoming fiscal year.
Fiscal Year 2024 Draft Budget Presented
UT Foundation CFO Adam Heller presented the fiscal year 2024 draft budget, which was approved by the Board. Heller noted that 42% of the budget is funded through direct support from the University, which aligns with the Vision 2025 objective to reduce dependency to less than 45%. The draft budget plans for an overall revenue growth of $5.4 million, which can be attributed to an increase in the endowment market value, investment earnings and an increase to university direct support to assist in funding the 5% salary pool.
Election of Board Directors
UT Foundation Nominating and Governance Chair Kim Cross presented the Board with four nominees to serve as elected directors for an initial three-year term beginning July 1, 2023. The Board approved the following nominees:
Doug Brown is senior vice president of wealth management for UBS Financial Services and lives in Chattanooga. He is a 1985 graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and immediate past chair of the UC Foundation Board of Trustees. Brown serves the UTC Chancellor’s Community Council, previously chaired the Chancellor’s Campus Roundtable and was president of UTC Alumni Board of Directors. He also participates in the UT Advocacy Network.
Emily Capadalis Love is currently serving the UTFI Board and chair of the UT Alumni Association’s Annual Giving Committee as the UTAA past president. Love graduated from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 1978 and currently resides in Memphis. Now retired, Love was the senior vice president of private banking with First Tennessee. Love has served as president of the UTAA Board of Governors and chair of the Women’s Council. She currently serves on the UTAA Past Presidents’ Council and Alumni Legislative Council and is a member of the Alliance of Women Philanthropists.
Phenise Poole is the senior vice president and deputy counsel of Fifth Third Bank in Cincinnati, Ohio. She is a 1985 graduate of the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and received her JD from University of Dayton School of Law. Poole is the current past-president of UTK Alumni Board of Directors. She has also been a member of the UTK College of Communication and Information Board of Visitors and is a member of the Alliance of Women Philanthropists. She is a board member of Black Lawyers Association, previously served Cincinnati Bar Association Steering Committee for Cincinnati Academy of Leadership for Lawyers and has served as diversity director for the Young Lawyers Division of the American Bar Foundation.
Art Sparks is a partner in Alexander Thompson Arnold CPAs and lives in Union City. He graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1976 and serves the UT Martin Advisory Board, UT President’s Council and UTAA Alumni Legislative Council. Sparks has previously served the boards of UTM Weststar, Discovery Park of America, Obion County Chamber of Commerce and UTAA Board of Governors. He is a member of Tennessee Society of CPAs and has been recognized in Business Tennessee Magazine’s Top 25 Accountants.
Outgoing Board Directors
The meeting concluded with UTFI Board Chair Ron Frieson thanking the following outgoing board directors for their service:
Hans Airee, UT Chattanooga Chancellor Steven Angle, Christopher Bollinger, Phillip Clendenin, Kimberly Cross, Fred Decosimo, Kathy Ledbetter and Jamie Woodson.
The next meeting of the UT Foundation Board of Directors will take place on November 2-3, 2023 in Chattanooga, TN.