Since 1946 the Fort Hays State University Foundation -- formerly the FHSU Endowment Association -- has advanced the university by actively seeking monetary gifts and bequests and then administering those contributions prudently in accordance with donors' wishes.
"During the past year the Foundation has experienced several historic milestones," Dr. Edward H. Hammond, FHSU president, said during a news conference today. "The most visible changes included adopting the Foundation name to better reflect the organization’s mission of raising, managing and investing university funds, and moving its offices to the new Robbins Center on the west edge of campus."
Fiscal year 2006-2007 was a record year for the Foundation in asset accumulation with assets growing from $43 million to $52.5 million, the president said.
"This success was a result of a robust economy, increased investment performance and strong private support," said Tim Chapman, president and CEO of the Foundation.
The addition of several new fundraising professionals and the reorganization of other positions have given the Foundation better communication with alumni and friends across the state and throughout the country.
More than 8,900 donors helped support the university, contributing $4.6 million in cash gifts and more than $5 million in deferred commitments. Scholarships were the top priority of donors, accounting for 49 percent of all designated gifts.
"When our friends ask what areas they should consider when thinking about making a gift I always smile," Chapman said. "The options are many and represent a wide range of needs within the university. Gifts can be directed toward general or operational funds, scholarships, project development and departmental programs."
Three significant estate gifts were received in fiscal year 2006-2007 that represent the generosity of individuals who wanted to leave a legacy at FHSU that will continue in perpetuity.
* Carl Rohwer Estate: $1.6 million, with an additional $870,000 to be receipted during this fiscal year, making this the second largest estate gift the Foundation has ever received. Rohwer was a 1939 FHSU graduate and had a long career as a petroleum accountant. At the age of 15 he was stricken with polio, which made it necessary for him to walk with crutches. Although he was disabled by the polio epidemic, he never let his handicap interfere with achievement. Rohwer greatly valued his education from FHSU and showed his gratitude with a variety of gifts before his death and through his estate. The major portion of Rohwer's bequest went to establish the Carl Rohwer Scholarship fund.
* Louella Carlile Estate: $243,000. Louella and Sene Carlile met in high school in Garden City during a trip to Hays for "Sneak Day" when Sene was in charge of the program. Sene earned his degree from FHSU in 1940 and went on to have a distinguished 35-year career as a professor of speech at Western Washington University. The Louella and Sene Carlile Scholarship fund is intended for students majoring in speech or debate.
* Adah Howat Estate: $784,000. Howat was the secretary at Meade High School in Meade, Kan., for 35 years. She dedicated her life to young people with encouragement, time and even money. She said her goal was to be a "good and faithful" servant to those whose needs were greater than hers. After retirement Adah was introduced to Gary Wentling, a Hays Banker, through a friendship Adah had with Wentling's aunt. His relationship became like that of an adopted son to Howat. She told him she wanted to find a way to help young people with the money she had accumulated, so Wentling suggested setting up a scholarship trust. The Adah Howat Scholarship Trust benefits FHSU students graduating from Meade and Trego high schools with superior grade point averages.
These are just three of the 11,300 gifts that made for a successful 2006-2007 year for the Foundation.
The 2007-2008 year is off to a record-setting start. Several six-figure gifts have been documented recently and those will be announced soon. Chapman said fundraising goals for the new fiscal year have more than doubled and the Foundation strengthened internal processes. "I wanted to move toward a system where we can better track and document all gifts that will allow us to be more effective and better educate our constituents," he said. "With a systematic approach we can be more efficient and tell some great stories."
For more information on how to give to FHSU or more about university programs that need support, contact the FHSU Foundation at (785) 628-5620.