By Shelby Brown–
U of L last week cut five employees from its fundraising department, even as gifts to academic programs plummeted 25 percent in the past year. Insider Louisville first reported the terminations. Donations to U of L shrank from $84 million to $63 million. The outgoing vice president of advancement called the $21 million drop the worst he had seen.
Inman said overall funds are down $97 million, blaming NCAA scandal, poor university publicity and foundation governance.
“(It’s) part of ongoing university belt-tightening related to the budget shortfall,” director of media relations John Karman said. Through the reduction in force, U of L’s advancement department lost six percent of its 76 employees.
The advancement cuts happened before the U of L Foundation’s July 18 meeting, when the vice president of advancement, Keith Inman, presented the stark reduction. He said while gifts from small donors show an uptick, large donations have sharply declined.
Donor relations have been a hot topic in meetings going back to spring. Philanthropists were shying away from U of L long before the foundation’s forensic audit rocked the university June 5. In May, the U of L Foundation’s chief operating officer was optimistic donations would rise after the audit release.
With former university and foundation president James Ramsey and his team now ousted, Inman says foundation directors must highlight U of L’s successes and overarching vision despite negative publicity. Inman said wealthy foundation members and trustees should lead the way by donating significant gifts to the university.