Foundation Board of Trustees Fall 2020 Meeting


Highlights from the October 2, 2020 Board Meeting

Board of Trustees Fall Meeting

Our fall meetings have always been scheduled around football games and the changing of leaf colors but once again 2020 forced us to change plans. The Board and Foundation staff have now become very familiar with WebEx and Zoom meetings, and while we missed sharing our beautiful campus and Valley with the Trustees, we were able to have a very productive and informative meeting.

The Board welcomed three new Trustees and are excited for their expertise and participation going forward. The main content of the meeting was focused on the University’s plan to combat COVID-19 in the student population, the large drop in revenue for the year, and the impact this pandemic was having on University Advancement. We had three guests in attendance who helped to update the Trustees on these topics.  

Dr. Tim Miller provided an in-depth report on “opening” school, “closing” school, and the plans to “reopen” on Oct 5, 2020. He expressed that while each decision was very challenging, they were made with the advice of the Virginia Department of Health. With additional quarantine beds and rapid testing now available, the senior leadership team is confident in their “reopening plans.” He also discussed the differences between JMU’s high numbers of positive Covid-19 testing results compared to other state schools. He explained that JMU was the only school reporting on cases from actual tests, which mostly come from students living on-campus, as well as self-reported cases, which mostly come from off-campus student populations.

Mr. Charlie King described how the closure of school for a month and decreased enrollment had created a $31 million dollar deficit in the University’s income. He went on to explain that the University is identifying cost saving measures and looking for additional revenue as the VA General Assembly returns for an emergency session to address the needs of higher education and other sectors of the state budget. It is the University’s hope that the General Assembly will assist by providing a small portion of this funding need.

Dr. Nick Langridge shared about the impact on fundraising during this period due to the lack of in person contact and the cancellation of events. While he was excited to report that the “Unleashed” campaign had reached $177 million in its sixth year, he acknowledged that most of our regular donors had been contacted and it would be challenging to identify new donors. Dr. Langridge was appreciative to everyone on the Board for its 100% participation in Madison for Keeps, which raised $759,000 to “Help Keep Dukes, Dukes.”

Admin and Finance Committee - The Committee reported that the FY20 unrestricted budget revenues exceeded expenses and the FY20 surplus amounts were added to the unrestricted budget reserve. It reviewed the Shenandoah Valley Conference Center activity and noted that, as expected due to the pandemic, tax receipts and occupancy was down. The hotel has been making modifications in budgeting, expenses, and is discussing loan payment deferments with the bank. One floor of the hotel has been reserved for COVID-19 positive students if other reserved areas at the University are at capacity. The Committee was pleased to report that the recent audit was clean and unmodified. It notified the Board that the Foundation will be utilizing a new IT service provider and plans on purchasing an in-house server which will result in cost reduction for that area. Ms. Cross reported that royalties are down 8% compared to a 13% drop for peer schools. She stated that licensing director Mr. Garrett King was excited to share with the committee some new retail ideas to add royalty income.

Audit Committee - The Committee reported that the consolidated financial statements were clean and that the auditors were complimentary of the Foundation staff.  The committee reviewed oversight responsibilities and changes to the IT service provider resulting from an IT audit performed earlier in the year.

Governance Committee - The Committee presented Mr. Paul M. Thompson to the Board for approval of his 1 year short-term along with the various officers and trustees for both the JMU Foundation and the JMU Real Estate Foundation. The committee discussed ways to improve the skill sets and diversity of the Board and agreed to not only review their affinity groups but meet with other JMU boards and associations to determine the match of their board members with the needs of the Foundation Board.

Real Estate Committee - The committee reported the sale of the old office building at 1320 S. Main Street was finalized in September, and that all departments in the new office building at 1031 Harrison Street had successfully moved into their new spaces during the months of August and September. It was reported that many potential transactions are now on hold due to the pandemic and we should not expect much activity until Spring 2021.

Investment Committee - The committee reported the value of our long-term portfolio with Monticello Associates had exceeded $130 million as of August with calendar year returns of 8.7% YTD. The committee reviewed two new managers to increase diversity in the portfolio and decided to invest in both. It was also noted that 18% of the portfolio is under minority management.

CFO - Cheryl Lindsay, VP/CFO, reviewed the dashboard of key Foundation financial information with the Board. Key components highlighted were: Assets under management is at $200 million, the Endowment is at $117 million, and short/long term investments were approximately $146 million. Ms. Lindsay also shared that contributions receivable were $12.9 million at year end but more importantly the collection rate continued to be very strong.

CEO - Warren Coleman, CEO, highlighted key items that would be new in FY21. Several of these important items were three new Trustees, the new office building which has been named Foundation Hall, new software and IT support, new resources provided by interns and new communication tools such as the Annual Report.

Strategic Planning - Committee Chair Barry Purcell, reported they had met four times and had identified potential changes to the Vision, Mission and Value statements along with five critical themes to address in the new plan. The themes are: Clear Role of the Foundation, Prudent Investment Policy, Innovation, Internal/External Communication, and Board Engagement/Structure. The committee will present a draft of the plan to the full Board at the February 2021 meeting.

Mr. Coleman announced the dates of February 11-12 and June 3-4 for the winter and spring meetings which will hopefully be held in person.

With no old business to discuss, Ms. Cross, Board Chair, adjourned the meeting.

Back to Top

Published: Friday, October 2, 2020

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

Related Articles