OMAHA – The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) announced today that the UNO Alumni Association and University of Nebraska Foundation have agreed to a strategic integration of the two organizations. The agreement provides for coordinated alumni advancement programming and communications for the purpose of creating stronger alumni engagement and increasing private financial support for UNO.
The agreement is effective Jan. 1, 2016, and has a term of five years. Initiated by UNO Chancellor John Christensen, the integration culminates two years of research and discussions.
“Bringing these two teams together will take our alumni engagement efforts to the next level,” Christensen said. “This integration reflects a shared commitment to exploring new, innovative strategies to drive engagement and continue to foster the support that will help us meet our university’s vision and goals.
“I’m grateful for the work of everyone involved in this transition and excited for what this collaboration will help achieve.”
The executive committee of the University of Nebraska Foundation’s board of directors voted in favor of the integration agreement Dec. 22. The UNO Alumni Association board of directors voted unanimously for integration at its quarterly meeting Dec. 1.
Key components of the integration:
The UNO Alumni Association remains a separate nonprofit organization that owns and manages financial assets and the Thompson Alumni Center on the UNO campus. Its board of directors will provide counsel and funding for advancement strategies, programs and communications in support of UNO and UNO alumni.
The University of Nebraska Foundation will continue to have responsibility for coordinating all development programs and staff in support of fundraising for UNO.
Effective Jan. 1, four UNO Alumni Association employees will become University of Nebraska Foundation employees and will comprise the foundation’s Omaha alumni engagement unit.
Lee Denker, president and CEO of the UNO Alumni Association, will continue in that role while also becoming executive director of UNO alumni engagement for the NU Foundation. He will report to the president and CEO of the University of Nebraska Foundation. Other alumni association employees joining the foundation are Anthony Flott, alumni communications; Meri Kennedy, administrative assistant; and Elizabeth Kraemer; alumni programming. The association’s business manager, facilities director, Thompson Center receptionist and other staff will continue as association employees and will maintain offices in the Thompson Center.
Alumni association employees who become foundation staff will relocate to the University of Nebraska Foundation’s Omaha offices at Aksarben Village beginning in early 2016.
The foundation, alumni association and UNO will agree to a financing model in which each organization supports alumni engagement. The three organizations also will collaborate on a comprehensive giving strategy in support of UNO and alumni engagement.
Sarah Waldman, 2015-16 chairman of the UNO Alumni Association board of directors, said she was looking forward to putting this well-developed plan into action for UNO following two years of consideration.
“Bringing these two teams together will take our alumni engagement efforts to the next level.”
- UNO Chancellor John Christensen
“After researching best practices in alumni engagement nationally and planning strategically with UNO and foundation leaders, our board believes that an integrated approach is the right step in helping UNO becoming one of the nation’s top metropolitan universities,” Waldman said. “We enter this new era with tremendous pride in and respect for our association’s first 100 years, and a great amount of confidence that this is the beginning of something very special at UNO.”
Since 1995 the UNO Alumni Association and University of Nebraska Foundation had operated under a series of agreements that defined specific roles and responsibilities for each organization related to UNO advancement, fundraising, record keeping and scholarships. The last such agreement was signed in 2012 and had been extended twice as the organizations worked toward a new integration agreement.
“This integration plan represents an exciting collaboration that puts a dedicated and experienced team in place with a shared vision of advancing the University of Nebraska at Omaha,” said Brian Hastings, president and CEO of the NU Foundation. “Working more closely than ever, we’ll continue efforts to create more awareness of the university among its constituents, increase engagement with those who care about the university and grow the financial resources available to support the university’s priorities.”
The University of Nebraska at Kearney Alumni Association and the University of Nebraska Foundation combined their operations in Kearney in 2010 to fully integrate alumni relations activities and encourage even greater alumni engagement and philanthropic support of the university.
About the UNO Alumni Association
The UNO Alumni Association, founded in 1913, advances the University of Nebraska at Omaha through innovative programs, communications and resources that engage the university’s worldwide network of more than 105,000 alumni.
About the University of Nebraska Foundation
The NU Foundation is an independent, nonprofit organization that has raised private gifts to support the university for more than 79 years. During the 2014-2015 fiscal year, donors provided the university with $212.7 million for scholarships, academic programs, medical and other research, faculty support and facilities. Our Students, Our Future is the foundation's current initiative to secure broad support for students.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.