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January 11, 1974

UWM Foundation is officially incorporated on January 11, 1974, led by founding directors Frank J. (Jack) Pelisek, Robert Zigman and Chancellor Werner Baum.


January 1, 1977

First annual fund raising campaign nets $17,958 from 530 donors.


January 1, 1978

The American Geographical Society’s petition to move its 600,000 item library and map collection from New York City to UWM’s Golda Meir Library receives approval.  Priority pledge drive brings in nearly $200,000.


January 1, 1982

UWM’s first comprehensive “Key to the Future” Campaign raises $5,982,525 — almost a million dollars over the goal!


As of June 30, 1984, total Foundation assets reach $8.5 million.


January 1, 1985

Foundation adopts mission statement:
“In partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the mission of the UWM Foundation is to obtain and manage private external resources to assist UWM in achieving its goals and to coordinate all private external fundraising activities.”


January 1, 1989

Restoration of the Edith S. Hefter Conference Center is made possible with funds donated by Bert G. Hefter in memory of his late wife Edith. Today the vibrant conference center is home to UWM University Advancement.


January 2, 1990

The Annual Phonathon Campaign grows from a two-week volunteer effort to a year-round program with paid student callers and professional staff.


January 1, 1992

The School of Architecture and Urban Planning and School of Business Enhancing Academic Excellence Campaign is launched with a goal of $8 million.


By June 30, 1994, total Foundation assets reach $19 million.


January 1, 1995

Mission statement broadened to include: “raising, stewarding and distributing private funds to help UWM retain its reputation as one of the nation’s most respected urban universities.”


January 1, 1999

With Peck School of the Arts, UWM Foundation purchased and began renovation of the old Temple Emanuel on Kenwood, to be known as Helene Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts.


January 1, 2003

The largest grant to-date received by a UWM school or college, for $5 million from the Helen Bader Foundation.



January 1, 2004

Student telemarketing callers move from the Alumni House to Bolton Hall to accommodate the new “state of the art” computerized calling equipment. By June 30, 2004, total Foundation assets reach $48 million.


January 1, 2006

UWM Research Foundation is established November 21, 2006.


January 1, 2010

In August 2010, The UWM Real Estate Foundation (est. 2005) completes construction on Cambridge Commons Residence Hall, and the first group of students moves in August.


January 1, 2013

Construction begins on the UWM Innovation Accelerator on Innovation Campus, a $12 million project funded by a grant from the Economic Development Administration.


January 1, 2014

By June 30, 2014, total Foundation assets surpass the $200 million mark!


January 1, 2019

Made in Milwaukee, Shaping the World: The Campaign for UWM concludes, raising more than $251 million! This campaign came to a successful conclusion in September 2019.


January 1, 2020

The UWM Alumni Association joins the UWM Family of Foundations as an affiliate corporation.


January 1, 2021

In March, the Foundation’s total assets surpass $300 million.


January 1, 2023

The Zilber Family Foundation gives $20 million — the largest gift ever made to the UWM Foundation.