About the Foundation

Buchanan Alumni House


The University of Maine Foundation, acting as a separate organization, works collaboratively with all entities to encourage philanthropic support for the University of Maine and other charitable organizations while carrying out the donor’s wishes in perpetuity.

What is the University of Maine Foundation?
The University of Maine Foundation is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that operates with its own elected Board of Directors, subject to the ultimate control of the membership. Established in 1934, the Foundation exists to encourage gifts and bequests to promote academic achievement, foster research and elevate intellectual pursuits at the University of Maine in Orono and other charitable organizations. The University of Maine Foundation manages an endowment—a collection of hundreds of individually named funds that are invested for growth—and annually distributes earnings providing private support as determined by our donors for University programs, students and faculty. Through the prudent stewardship of donors’ gifts, the Foundation is able to ensure stability for programs and student financial aid. Since the principal is not spent, endowments generate earnings year after year.

How does the University of Maine Foundation serve the University?
The Foundation works hard to raise funds to benefit the University of Maine. The Foundation and the University work in a closely coordinated and cooperative manner to promote a philanthropic culture to benefit the university.

What are the advantages of having a foundation independent of the University of Maine?

  • Providing a vehicle to raise and manage private money above that which is appropriated from state funds.
  • Providing a vehicle to keep private funds separate from public funds that usually come with State mandates.
  • Providing a private/public partnership vehicle for procurement of services, programs, and projects that benefit the University in the long term, i.e., Buchanan Alumni House.
  • Operating as a private nonprofit organization in a politically neutral, less restrictive environment, which increases our responsiveness and efficiency in meeting important University goals.
  • Focusing on accountability, earnings are distributed according to donor wishes and are carefully monitored by an independent governing board in perpetuity.
  • Being independent of the State system, the Foundation can offer greater flexibility with gift acceptance. The Foundation can accept and sell certain types of property more expeditiously and is in a better position to keep donor information confidential for those who wish anonymity.
  • Maintaining a long-term perspective on needs, priorities, and past commitments going beyond the outlook and tenure of University administrators.
  • Balancing the requirement of public accountability with protections against invasion of privacy. Both trusts, the public and the prospective donor, figure prominently in Foundation policies.
  • Involving volunteers in fund-raising efforts and creating within them a sense of pride, accomplishment, and ownership—all being critical to fund-raising success.

Does the Foundation charge a fee for its services?

The University of Maine Foundation funds its operations with unrestricted gifts and by charging annually an administrative fee that is 1.25% of the endowment fund. The fee is reviewed annually by the Board of Directors.

What can you expect from the UMF?

  • Efficient and responsive service to inquiries and requests
  • Comprehensive assistance in charitable and estate planning from qualified staff
  • Preparation of a fund description or gift agreement
  • Annual report detailing your fund’s progress
  • Individualized attention and expressions of appreciation
  • Monitoring and accountability for use of gifts and funds
  • Carrying out the wishes of the donor in perpetuity
  • Assurance under Donor Bill of Rights
  • Oversight of a Stewardship Committee


None of the information on this website should be considered legal or financial advice. We encourage you to consult with your own legal counsel or financial/tax advisor before deciding whether or not to proceed with a gift or change to your estate plan.