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 $145 million, and distribute these funds to the University pursuant to donor wishes.
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. 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 their students. The UWMREF opened two residence halls, RiverView in January 2008 and Cambridge Commons in August 2010. 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 purchased 89 acres of land in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin to build UWM’s Innovation Campus in February 2011. The UWMREF’s first building, the Innovation Accelerator, opened in April of 2014. The UWMREF was awarded a $5 million grant from the Economic Development Authority for this Building. Our first corporate partner on the Innovation Campus, ABB, Inc., opened in the spring of 2014. The Echelon Apartments and a Residence Inn by Marriott were completed in 2016 contributing to the Live, Learn, Work, Play concept of the Campus.
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, awarded over $4.2 million to seed promising projects and $16 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 hundreds of active intellectual property matters, 52 issued or allowed patents, the completion of 60 license and option agreements and 13 faculty startup companies.
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.
Andrew R. Schiesl