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Welcome from the Chair

UWM Foundation Offices on North Avenue located on the 1st floor of the southwest wing of Cambridge Commons

Welcome to the UWM Foundation homepage.  We have a long history of supporting the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.  Since 1974, the UWM Foundation has endeavored to advance the mission of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) through requests of philanthropic gifts to support students, faculty, campus programming and the community. As good stewards of funds designated for the University, we manage a portfolio currently valued at approximately $225 million, and distribute these funds to the University pursuant to donor wishes. Our goal is to be completely transparent with our donors and the public.  I’m sure that readers will find all the information they seek on the following pages.

Our last comprehensive campaign, Made in Milwaukee, Shaping the World: The Campaign for UWM was the most successful in the University’s history. The goal was to raise $200 million in support of student success, research excellence and community engagement. Under the leadership of Chancellor Mark Mone, the final tally exceeded $250 million. What a remarkable statement of the importance of this university to the community! We are delighted to welcome Joan Nesbitt as UWM’s new Vice Chancellor for Development and Alumni Relations in 2022 and look forward to working closely with her team on new initiatives for the University.

While philanthropy and asset management remain the core of our mission, the UWM Foundation constantly and increasingly pursues new, innovative avenues to support the University. This year we welcomed the newly reincorporated UWM Alumni Association as an affiliate of the UWM Foundation.  By integrating the business functions of the Alumni Association into the Foundation’s accounting systems, we will achieve greater efficiencies and economies of scale for that wonderful organization.  Our unified process for electing Board Members to each organization, will also lead to greater collaboration to the benefit of the University.

In 2005, we created an affiliated organization, the UWM Real Estate Foundation (UWMREF), to develop and manage real property for the benefit of the campus and its students. The UWMREF constructed two residence halls for UWM, RiverView and Cambridge Commons. We are proud that we have not only helped to meet the need for additional student housing and more classroom space but have done so without the infusion of tax dollars and by enhancing the local community. The UWMREF has spearheaded a number of other important projects including the development of the UWM Innovation Campus and purchase of the Chancellor’s Official Residence.

In addition, the UWM Foundation promotes the University’s mission through the support it provides to campus research and research commercialization. In 2006, we created a second affiliated organization, the UWM Research Foundation to foster research and innovation at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, helping it to become an economic engine for Milwaukee. The UWM Research Foundation has created an infrastructure for managing UWM’s intellectual property. They have awarded nearly $5.4 million to seed promising projects which resulted in more than $27.7 million in follow-on funding, provided support for graduate students and post-doctoral researchers and helped foster a culture of innovation at UWM. These investments are paying off with a growing portfolio that includes 124 issued and 76 pending patents, the completion of 50 active license and option agreements, and 19 startup license/options.

I am still amazed at the new things I learn almost daily about our wonderful university and the commitment of my fellow board members to this institution. The UWM Foundation is a dynamic and increasingly important organization devoted to the success of the University. I am honored to chair the Board of Directors and invite you to join us in support of this wonderful institution.

John H. Kissinger (’79)
Chair, UWM Foundation Board of Directors