A newsletter for Foundation directors and friends of higher education in Maryland

Letter from the President

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


This September has turned out to be a month for celebration. As a sports fan, I am thrilled with the performance of "my" team, the Orioles, and applaud the Nats for winning their division and ending their regular season with a no hitter. Maryland just won its very first Big 10 football game - decisively - with a 37-15 win over Indiana. Perhaps even more exciting is Maryland's announcement earlier this month of a $31 million gift from alumnus Brendan Iribe, which will support the construction of a new computer science building on campus, as well as scholarships. Read more about this inspiring gift below, and join me in thanking Brendan, his family, and his friends for this extraordinary and visionary act of generosity.

As reported in past issues of LeaderNotes, we alerted you that beginning in Fiscal 2015, we would be displaying our investment performance in a different format to better align with long-term strategic goals. As you know, we invest endowment funds to protect the principal for perpetuity, and we assess the performance of the portfolio over varied market cycles. These cycles can persist over several years, and our investment team and Investment Committee are focused on long-term market movements.

Going forward, consistent with our philosophy of measuring long-term performance to future needs, we plan to report endowment results in LeaderNotes twice a year, reporting calendar (CY) and fiscal year (FY) results in the months of February and August, respectively. We too will include 3-year, 5-year, 10-year, and since-inception annualized returns when we report CY and FY results. Separate from LeaderNotes, all clients will continue to receive monthly individual detailed performance reports. Anyone who is a member of one of the foundation/university boards can obtain copies of the monthly report directly from the respective university's advancement office.

Our return goal is to earn a long-term objective, consisting of our Foundation's spending rate (currently 3.90%), the rate of annual inflation for higher education institutions, and our fees for asset management services, which currently amounts to a total of 7.7%. This is the minimum return we strive to earn to protect the principal and build inter-generational equity (the concept that an endowment's purchasing power should be maintained over time for future generations). We designed our portfolio to have less volatility than equity markets and to do so over multiple market cycles. Rather than assess performance on a month-to-month basis or in comparison to equity indices such as the S&P 500, we will be benchmarking our returns to our long-term objective.

Strength of endowment is considered when bond rating agencies evaluate the fiscal soundness of the entire University System of Maryland (USM). Thanks to the fiscal leadership of our USM institutions, the careful stewardship of the USM's Office of Finance, and the Board of Regents' prudent oversight of the USM's financial affairs, the USM sustained its traditionally strong rating of AA+ this year with a "stable outlook" from the three principal bond ratings agencies - Standard & Poor's, Moody's, and Fitch.

In closing, I would like to inform you that we are going to be hosting an Investors Day in May of 2015. We will be inviting each of our clients to bring three or four of their investment or finance committee members to this special program. A save the date notice will be sent directly to each client in the near future. As always, please contact me directly at raley@usmd.edu or 301-445-1941 if you have any questions or ideas you would like to share with us. We thank you for your continued support.




Leonard R. Raley

Oculus co-founder and CEO and UMD alumnus Brendan Iribe hascommitted $31 million to fund construction of a new computer science building and create a new endowed scholarship. The Brendan Iribe Center for Computer Science will allow for cutting-edge work in virtual reality, augmented reality, computer vision, robotics and future computing platforms. Iribe is joined by his co-founder, Michael Antonov, and his mother, Elizabeth Iribe, who have also donated $4 million and $3 million respectively, to be used toward the new building, additional scholarships, and two new endowed chairs in the computer science department.

Spotlight on Towson University Alumna "Mighty Kacy" Catanzaro


Kacy Catanzaro made national news when she became the first woman to successfully complete all obstacles of the qualifying course of "American Ninja Warrior." She was eliminated in Stage 1 of the finals in Las Vegas, but plans to compete in next year's competition. Catanzaro was an award-winning Division I all-around gymnast for the championship Towson team, which she led to a 20-5 record as a senior and a four-year mark of 75-16. As a senior, she was named the NCAA Southeast Regional Gymnast of the Year and the ECAC Gymnast of the Year. Catanzaro graduated from Towson in 2012 with a B.A. in early childhood education.


Click to watch the full videos of Mighty Kacy completing the qualifying course and attempting the finals course


The first set of scholarships through the Allegany County Opportunity Scholarship program has been awarded to 98 individual FSU students. As of August 18, 75 undergraduate students, 15 graduate students and eight doctoral students were the recipients of the new scholarship program, with nearly $114,600 awarded so far. The funds for the scholarship are provided from a portion of Allegany County Government's share of the annual gross revenue generated by the video lottery machines at Rocky Gap Casino Resort. Allegany College of Maryland also benefits from this new scholarship program.

September 2014
Vol. 8, Iss. 8
In This Issue
UMD Receives Largest Gift in Institutional History
Spotlight on "Mighty Kacy" Catanzaro
First Allegany County Opportunity Scholarships Awarded to FSU Students
USM News Briefs
Trends in Philanthropy
Staff Member News
USM News Briefs   

The ESC is a new initiative that will offer state-of-the-art education in environmental statistics to UMCES graduate students, provide research expertise to faculty researchers, and offer consulting services to partners in the scientific and natural resource management community. The Institute opened in August for consulting and research services and will teach its first course for students in January 2015. 

The $100,000 scholarship covers tuition, room, board, textbooks, and other incidental costs for up to five years. It also includes a  structured internship program meant to provide the student with valuable field experience. The student will have the opportunity to intern at Caves Valley as an undergraduate and then be considered for an apprenticeship after graduation. UMES is one of 18 universities in the U.S. with a PGA-approved golf management program and the nation's only historically black institution.

Trends in Philanthropy 

U.S. Educational Fundraisers Predict Steady Growth in Giving During Academic Year


According to survey results released by CASE, fundraisers at higher ed institutions in the United States estimated donations grew 5.4 percent during the 2013-2014 academic year. Fundraisers are even more optimistic about the coming academic year, predicting a 5.7 percent increase in giving.

Staff Member News

 Asset International-CIO (aiCIO Magazine) named the USM Foundation and Sam Gallo as a finalist for its 2014 Industry Innovation Award. We share this honor with some very prominent investment programs, such as the Carnegie, Helmsley, Cargill, Fisher, Ford, and Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundations, which is made all the more impressive when you consider the size of the USM Foundation.

The winners will be announced in December in New York. Congratulations to Sam and the investment team! 

Jess Gill

Editor, LeaderNotes