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

Letter from the President

Dear Friends and Colleagues,


I had the recent pleasure of attending the annual Association of Governing Boards (AGB) Foundation Leadership forum in Naples, Florida. Joining me were Vice President and CFO Pam Purcell, Chief of Staff Marianne Horrigan, new Board Chair Dennis Wraase, and new Governance Chair Bonnie Stein. Pam and Bonnie led a session on board orientation, while Dennis led a roundtable on the future of institutionally related foundations. I had the opportunity to facilitate a panel discussion on goal setting and self-assessment, before leading a workshop on strategic planning with a colleague from Iowa State University. The AGB forum allows us to learn from our peers and share the terrific work we are doing here at the USM Foundation, and I'm so pleased we had such wonderful representation among the sessions offered. Some of the topics that we discussed at the forum have been highlighted in the feature below.


In other news, our investment office has had an especially exciting month thanks to its prudent fiscal management style and the leadership of our investment committee. On January 29th, several of our staff members traveled to New York to ring the closing bell for the New York Stock Exchange, thanks to our partnership with the United Nations as a seed investor in the iShares MSCI ACWI Low Carbon Target ETF. We also received an AA+ rating from Fitch Ratings, which is a true testament to the commitment our Foundation has made to making decisions to best benefit its supporters.


Here's wishing a speedy end to winter so that we can return to warmer days. As always, please contact me at raley@usmd.edu or 301-445-1941 with any questions or comments.




Leonard R. Raley

December 2014 Investment Office Update

December proved to be yet another tumultuous month. Concerns about deflation and slowing global growth, coupled with the continued downward slide in energy prices, weighed on investor confidence and contributed to an increase in market volatility. Global equity indices declined in December, with European equities experiencing material declines. The credit markets also performed poorly in December. The fall in energy prices dragged down the price of debt securities issued by energy firms, which, in aggregate, represent a large component of the corporate bond markets.

Additionally, the U.S. yield curve continued to flatten in December, with shorter term yields moving higher in anticipation of the Federal Reserve initiating its first rate hike since 2006.


Investment Performance Through December 31, 2014


Endowment %
S&P 500%
Endowment Strategic Policy Portfolio BM(1)
Dec. 2014
FYTD 2015
CYTD 2014


1] From inception to present: 40% MSCI ACWI, 10% HFRI Fund of Funds Composite Index, 10% Russell 3000 + 300bps, 10% HEPI + 500bps, 10% NCREIF ODCE +200bps, 10% Barclays Aggregate Bond, 5% BofA ML HIGH YIELD MASTER II + 200bps, 5% BofAML 3-MONTH US T-BILL

Bowie State University Kicks Off its 150th Anniversary Celebration 


Bowie State University launched its year-long Sesquicentennial Celebration on January 13th by returning to the city of its origin, Baltimore, to celebrate. Held at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum for Maryland African American History and Culture, the launch event gave attendees an opportunity to reflect on the evolution of the school from a normal school to train newly emancipated slaves to a comprehensive, liberal arts university. It also honored those who have contributed to the university's development. Visit Bowie's new 150th anniversary website for more details of the University's history and celebration events throughout the year.

The State's 2016 Budget's Impact on Higher Education in Maryland

The mid-year budget cuts in FY15 and the recently released 2016 budget were a mixed bag for higher education. The USM had been told to plan for an $8.5 million cut midway through FY15, but the actual cut was $40.3 million, nearly five times the amount of the original cut. To help the state resolve its budget difficulties, the USM has frozen hiring, eliminated vacant positions, and/or furloughed employees; postponed deferred maintenance projects; and implemented other operational savings where possible. In addition, four USM institutions have initiated modest tuition increases for the spring semester. Members of the USM Foundation's advocacy committee visited Annapolis earlier this week to speak with legislators to encourage them to support the USM. It is crucial to encourage legislators to decrease the overall budget cuts so the USM can continue its significant work in advancing the state and serving its students.


Chancellor Brit Kirwan and USM Board of Regents Chair Jim Shea have been advocating tirelessly on behalf of the USM in front of the Maryland State Senate and House of Delegates. Click here to read their legislative testimonies.

Themes from the 2015 AGB Foundation Leadership Forum

This year's conference trended toward certain themes that are topical to the work being done across the System and especially here at the USM Foundation. Higher education must continue to evolve if it wants to stay relevant and meaningful. Below are some of the topics that were discussed at great length at the 2015 AGB Foundation Leadership Forum:

Taking a new look at the role of public higher education: there was a lot of discussion about the conflicting drive to both become more exclusive - which is the current measure of success - and the core mission of public higher education, which is to educate more students more effectively.


Sharing resources: Sharing resources and ideas aimed to improve student success is not just institutional - presidents are taking steps to form alliances and collaborations with other institutions to implement best practices and make more resources available to their students, faculty, and staff. 


The role of institutionally related foundations: Continuing pressure on budgets because of shrinking public support, the limited potential of tuition revenues and research dollars, and increased mandatory costs makes private giving increasingly important. At the same time, we face more and more public scrutiny with a questioning of our need for private status foremost among them. 


These topics will continue to be explored across higher education institutions, and certainly within our own offices in the face of new budget cuts and the need for increased support and advocacy for the USM. 

February 2015
Vol. 9, Iss. 2
In This Issue
USM News Briefs   

FSU President Jonathan Gibralter to Become President of Wells College


Frostburg State University  (FSU) President Jonathan Gibralter has been named the 19th president of Wells College, a private, liberal arts college in Aurora, New York. He will leave FSU effective June 30. Gibralter was named FSU's 14th president in 2006 and under his leadership, FSU improved enrollment; renewed its focus on marketing, branding and raising the institution's profile; established a cooperative relationship with the City of Frostburg; and increased its focus on fundraising, exceeding the goal of its last comprehensive campaign.

We wish Jonathan the best of luck!


Coppin State University Presidential Search Underway


In late 2014, Chancellor Kirwan announced the appointment of the search and screening committee to find the next president of Coppin State University (CSU). Current president Mortimer H. Neufville began a two-year term in July 2013 after serving as interim president. The goal is to have the new president named by July 1, 2015. The search and screening committee is led by representatives from Coppin's faculty, staff, students, alumni, and members from the greater community.

Trends in Philanthropy

The Future of Fundraising 

As nonprofit leaders look to leading their organizations into 2015 and beyond, organizations will need to adapt their practices, especially with regard to donor engagement and technological adaptability. The Stanford Social Innovation Review identifies four such trends that may change the fundraising landscape moving forward.

Board Member News 

USM Foundation Board Director and USM Regent Linda Gooden was named to the board of General Motors Corporation. 

Congratulations, Linda! 


USM Foundation Board Director Larry Letow was interviewed by the Baltimore CityBizList, where he talks about what he has learned in 30 years of cyber security. Click through to read more. 


Also in the news was Board Director Raymond Ferrara. He provided tips and advice for ways to live frugally in retirement for USA Today. We are so privileged to have industry experts on our board!

Congratulations to our Interns!


Thanks to a collaboration with the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland, College Park, the USM Foundation was able to provide three interns with invaluable experience at our investment office. We're thrilled to share that our first class of graduating interns have all received terrific job offers. Pavan Rangachar will be heading to Goldman Sachs, Harsha Neerchal will be heading to JMI, and Nikhil Mathur is joining Hamilton Lane. We wish them the best in their future successes!

Jess Gill

Editor, LeaderNotes