News from The Foundation

University of Tennessee Foundation Exceeds Fundraising Goals, Elects Arthur Sparks as Vice Chair

UTFI Board of Directors

KNOXVILLE – The University of Tennessee Foundation Board of Directors held its annual meeting on June 14, 2024, in Knoxville.

During the meeting, UT Foundation President Kerry Witcher highlighted significant progress towards organizational goals. Fundraising efforts have outperformed expectations, surpassing the fiscal year 2024 baseline goal by 20%. Current fundraising totals have also marked a milestone towards the ambitious $3 billion goal to make this the greatest decade in UT history as the Foundation reached the halfway point ahead of schedule.

As of June 7, 2024, the Foundation has already raised $363 million, positioning fiscal year 2024 as the second highest fundraising year in UT System history. Moreover, alumni engagement has moved beyond projections with a record-breaking 294,629 engaged alumni.

Witcher remarked, “The current results from FY24 demonstrate the unwavering support and dedication of our alumni and donors, as well as the exceptional commitment of our statewide staff.”

UT Foundation CFO Adam Heller presented the fiscal year 2025 draft budget, which gained board approval. Notably, the budget reflects a decrease in campus direct support, aligning with Vision 2025 objectives to reduce dependency to less than 45%. The proposed budget anticipates an overall revenue growth of $4.1 million, attributed to various factors including increased endowment market value, new revenue sources and campus direct support to assist funding the salary pool in FY 2025.

Additionally, the Board approved a policy change setting an appropriate reserve target, aimed at mitigating risks during economic contractions. Withdrawals from the general reserve fund require approval from the UT Foundation Board.

Nominating and Governance Chair Emily Capadalis Love presented the slate for director elections, which included six current Directors for re-election and one new director. Misty D. Mayes, a distinguished alumna of UT Knoxville’s Tickle College of Engineering, was approved to commence a three-year term starting July 1, 2024. Re-elected Directors include Isaac Bennett, Ron Frieson, Judi Herbert, Renee Iacona, Debbie Ingram and Richard Warren.

Art Sparks
Misty Mayes
Misty Mayes

Arthur L. Sparks, Jr. was nominated and approved as the Vice Chair, succeeding Alan D. Wilson, who will assume the role of Board Chair on July 1. Sparks, a partner at Alexander Thompson Arnold CPAs, brings a wealth of experience and dedication to the role, having graduated from the University of Tennessee at Martin in 1976. His extensive involvement in various boards and councils underscores his commitment to the University.

The UT Foundation Board of Directors will meet again on November 9, 2024.