JMU Foundation Board of Trustees Winter 2022 Meeting


Highlights from the February 11, 2022, Board of Trustees Meeting

After attending committee meetings on Thursday February 10, 2022, and the JMU Men’s Basketball game, the full board met in person on February 11, 2022, at the Hotel Madison and Shenandoah Valley Conference Center. The full board meeting started with our lunch speaker Stephen LaPorta, Assistant AD for Compliance, who shared insight with the board on the new NIL (Name, Image, and Likeness) environment. While this concept has been in place since July 1, 2021, it is still evolving and JMU is still unsure of its impact on the school and students themselves.

Major news from the committees is as follows:

Executive: Mrs. Towana Moore, Interim VP of Admin and Finance for JMU, was introduced as our newest ex-offico member. She replaces Mr. Charlie King on the board as a voting member.

Administration and Finance: Foundation CFO Ms. Cheryl Lindsay introduced Courtney Samuelu the new Senior Accounting and Reporting Manger, and acknowledged that David Huffman has resigned so the department currently has two open positions. Garrett King, Licensing Director and John Rheanult, a representative from Follett bookstore, reported on the performance of the first six months, which was better than all four quarters of FY21, and the plans to improve the bookstore under Follett’s new ten year contract. The committee also heard from Mr. Paul Gladd of Hotel Madison. Mr. Gladd shared that the environment was still very challenging, but they were seeing improvements in bookings.

Development: Dr. Nick Langridge shared that with only four months left in the campaign the current total is approximately $236 million. Information was shared on the upcoming Giving Day scheduled for 2/22/22 and the committee and board members were encouraged to participate. Mr. Darrel Branch also shared information about giving opportunities for the board in the form of an annual scholarship or endowment and that the final recommendation on this initiative will be shared at the May meeting.

ERM/Audit: Ms. Jennifer Shirkey reported that the annual audit contract with Brown Edwards had been extended for an additional three years and they will continue to help with the 990 T forms. The committee discussed the proposed Affiliation Agreement with the University and possible FOIA concerns related to the agreement. These matters will be addressed by the staff prior to the next meeting.

Governance: The committee approved and presented to the full board the motion to add the position of Immediate Past Chair as a non-voting member of the Executive Committee. The committee also discussed the skills needed for the open Trustees and Fellows positions and asked for nominations from the Board by mid-March.

Real Estate: The Committee reviewed the LOIs received on the Peach Grove Avenue property and requested Foundation CEO Mr. Warren Coleman and the broker to move forward with one of the offers. The committee also discussed several properties that would benefit the University and Mr. Coleman will work with Ms. Moore on these projects.

Investment: Mr. Mike Walden reported that Mr. Eric Riedlin with Monticello Associates attended and reviewed the portfolio performance as of 12/31/21.  He noted that returns of 5.5% for the calendar year were positive though below the 1-year benchmark.  However, returns are ahead of the benchmarks for the 2-, 3- and 5-year comparisons.  With current market volatility, the committee decided not to add capacity at this time.

The full board agenda began with the annual report from Madison Investment Fund (MIF). This student led investment group currently manages approximately $500,000 of the Foundation’s assets. While the members are primarily finance majors, they do have non-business majors and are working to increase the diversity in both majors and the ratio of men to women members.

Ahletics Director Mr. Jeff Bourne then reported on the move to the Sunbelt Conference and the potential impact it will have on the University’s image as well as the caliber of opponents that will compete with JMU. While not all non-revenue sports are sponsored by the Sunbelt, Mr. Bourne feels good about finding new conferences for these sports like the AAC for women’s lacrosse. Mr. Bourne did emphasis that the move will increase the need for coaches and scholarships, and he expects the funds raised by the Duke Club will need to increase significantly.

Dr. Nick Langridge updated the board on the Unleashed Campaign and upcoming Giving Day. He shared about all the exciting events planned around Dukes 2gether on 2/22/22 and how the board members could become ambassadors for the event. Mr. Coleman encouraged all the members to participate with gifts to the Vision Fund as this was a great opportunity for the Board to reach its goal of 100% participation in annual giving.

CEO Coleman and CFO Lindsay provided brief mid-year updates regarding personnel changes, automation, and the recent decrease in the endowment created by the lower investment returns discussed in the Investment Committee report.

As part of the Strategic Plan review, CEO Coleman discussed work completed as well as work in progress on all five of the themes and conducted a group discussion with the board to ensure the most important action items were the team’s focus.  The key topics were:

  1. Determine appropriate asset allocation
  2. Increase trustee participation in meetings
  3. Educate donors, parents, alumni
  4. Create new unrestricted revenue
  5. Research and evaluate emerging technology to accelerate university giving

This discussion also included the skills and focus of the trustees regarding their role as a trustee. The group discussion yielded a consensus about the members regarding the Strategic Plan and the Trustees' focus. The Trustees provided topics for future meetings and action items which, in their opinion, would improve the meetings.

Chair Purcell announced that the next meeting would be held May 19-20.

With no other business to discuss, Board Chair Purcell adjourned the meeting.

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Published: Friday, February 11, 2022

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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