Foundation Board of Trustees Winter 2021 Meeting


Highlights from the February 12, 2021 Meeting

Board of Trustees Winter Meeting

The Governor’s restrictions on meeting size, coupled with the Trustees’ concerns of travel safety resulted in us greeting each other again in a big Zoom town hall meeting. Snow and ice had accumulated during week, but we were safe inside Lakeview Hall as we conducted our Zoom call with the help of the JMU X-Labs team.

The meeting opened with the Executive team members of the Madison Investment Fund (MIF), presenting their results for the calendar year 2020. MIF, a student-lead equity investment fund that manages a portion of James Madison University Foundation investments, proudly reported returns of 25.24% compared to their benchmark of 18.4%. The group was excited to share that its diversity has increased as they now have members from 10 different degree majors. The students exhibited great presentation skills and professionalism as they delivered their impressive report. Those qualities will help them be successful in the jobs that they have accepted, and it would not be a surprise to see these same students sitting on the Investment Committee of the Foundation sometime in the future.

Dr. Tim Miller and Mr. Charlie King followed this presentation with an update on the University’s transition to in-person learning and the continued impact of the pandemic on the school. Dr. Miller reported that when students returned for the spring semester, only four tested positive for Covid-19 out of 5,300 students, so it appears that they are following their “Stop the Spread” pledge.  He went on to say that although virtual meetings have had many negative side-effects, one of the more positive impacts it has had on recruitment is that switching to a virtual “Choices” program now allows students to attend who are from California and other states that require a long travel time and may not have been able to attend if it were in person. Dr. Miller stated that he hopes students will receive their vaccines as part of summer orientation so the campus can be fully operational by fall.

Mr. King shared that the financial shortfall has now grown to $54 million from the $34 million in October, but enrollment for the spring semester has increased. He also shared that the General Assembly is expected to approve some funding for the University which will allow for salary increases in FY2022. He is hopeful that the return to a normal fall semester will help offset the deficits created to date by the pandemic.

Mr. Coleman, CEO, shared highlights of 2020 which included the implementation of Fundriver, PPP loans, and moving into the Foundation’s new building, Foundation Hall. He praised the work of his team during this difficult year and stressed that having trust in the process was key to a successful 2020, and will continue to be important as the new strategic plan is implemented in 2021.

The Strategic Planning committee concluded the meeting with their presentation on the proposed Mission, Vision and Value statements and five themes, which will allow the Foundation to continue to successfully navigate the challenging environment of stewarding the gifts of our donors. The Trustees were charged with providing input regarding the statements and themes so a final product can be approved at the spring meeting on June 4, 2021.

The proposed statements and themes are as follows:

Mission: The James Madison University Foundation provides prudent investment policy and stewardship to sustain and grow financial support for the University, while collaborating with the University to create innovative avenues of giving and to meet critical funding initiatives.

Vision: Through performance and accountability, the Foundation earns the trust of our constituents as we passionately support the JMU community of students, faculty, alumni and donors.

Values: We are guided by an abiding commitment to our James Madison University community, valuing trust, collaboration, innovation, accountability and excellence in all we do.

Theme One: Clear Role of the Foundation

Theme Two: Prudent Investment Policy

Theme Three: Innovation

Theme Four: Internal/External Communication

Theme Five: Board Engagement and Structure

Mr. Coleman announced that June 3-4 are the dates for the spring committee and board meetings, which will hopefully be held in person.

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

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Published: Friday, February 12, 2021

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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