JMU Foundation Board of Trustees Winter 2023 board meeting


Highlights from the February 16, 2023, Meeting

Board of Trustees - Winter Meeting

Our Trustees and Fellows were welcomed back to Harrisonburg with spring-like weather and a basketball game.  We were fortunate to have eighteen of our twenty-one trustees and five of our six Fellows join us in person for the beautiful weather and lively committee and board meetings. The foundation is blessed by all the Trustees, Fellows, and Advisors who lend their expertise to the operations of the Board.

The full board met in person on February 16, 2023, at the Hotel Madison and Shenandoah Valley Conference Center. The board meeting began with our lunch speaker Lauren Steinbrecher, Head Coach of the Women’s Volleyball team and current Sun Belt Coach of the Year. Lauren shared her excitement regarding the Sun Belt, Conference Championship, the upcoming move to the Convocation Center in the Fall for games and improved sports facilities. She shared details on the new challenges of the transfer portal and the mental health of the players which gave the Board a much better appreciation of the struggles that college athletic coaches encounter.

Major news from the committees were:

Executive: The committee heard from each of the committee chairs regarding major action items in their committee. The major discussion topics were acceptance of the Affiliation Agreement with the University, process for nominating the FY23-24 Vice Chair, and results of the investment portfolio. No action items or motions were noted.

Administration and Finance: Dr. Semaan, Sponsor of the Madison Investment Fund student-led investment team, presented a risk analysis software product that he and several students developed for the Foundation’s Investment portfolio. This work was initiated by the Audit Committee since investment returns and spending policies are very critical to providing funds for scholarships and the Foundation’s operation. The report will be shared with the Investment committee after it is updated for changes requested by the committee.  Regarding the royalty revenue stream, Mr. King, Licensing Director, reported that royalties Fiscal YTD are up 18% over a similar period last year.

Development: Dr. Langridge reported on the University’s new CRM project and the selection of Salesforce as the implementation firm to be used by the entire University. Advancement will be one of the first divisions implemented to ensure it can be utilized for the next campaign. It was also noted that Venmo had been activated by the Foundation as a new innovative tool for giving. With auctions, galas and other special events used for fundraising, it was determined that the Special Fundraising policy needed an update. Mrs. Samuelu presented the revised policy which will be presented to the full board in May for approval. The Committee completed their meeting by reviewing their current committee responsibilities and will finalize the revised responsibilities at the Spring meeting.

ERM/Audit: The committee approved the 990 tax returns for June 30, 2022, and copies will be forwarded to all board members for their comments/approval. The committee spent the remainder of their time discussing enterprise risk management and reviewing the top eleven risks. The risk identified as the highest priority was market volatility and the committee was happy to learn about the results of the market volatility project initiated by their committee. The other ten risks were briefly discussed with more discussion planned for the spring meeting.

Governance: Mrs. Cross presented a motion to the full board to accept the Affiliation Agreement with the University.  Mrs. Cross noted that the Agreement had been approved by the University’s Board of Visitors on February 10, 2023. With a unanimous vote, the agreement was subsequently approved by the Board. Mrs. Cross shared that all Trustees eligible for another three-year term starting FY23-24 had agreed to serve so no new Trustees will be presented for election at the Spring meeting. She did note that the Vice Chair position needed to be filled and asked for nominees from the full Board no later than March 1, 2023.

Real Estate: Updates were provided on the Peach Grove Avenue property – Rezoning proposal goes to City Council on February 28 for approval. The committee also discussed potential land deals that would support the University’s mission, but no action was taken. It was also noted that inspections on all properties have been completed.

Investment: Board Chair Mr. Purcell reported for Mr. Walden who was unable to attend. Monticello Advisor Eric Riedlin reported that a 60/40 split portfolio experienced the second worse returns since those coming out of the depression and into WWII.  Our return was down mainly due to the lack of private equity and our exposure to China. We are seeing improvements in FY23 as the portfolio is up 5.9% YTD as of January 2023. Mr. Purcell also shared that a sub-committee within the Investment Committee has been appointed to review our Investment Model and current manager as required by the Strategic Plan. A report from this committee is planned for the spring meeting.

Full Board:

The full board agenda began with the Madison Investment Fund (MIF) annual report. MIF President, Phillip Roth reported on the group’s organization structure and provided a look at the diversity both academic and identity. The group is working to increase female recruits. The MIF leadership team was happy to report that all juniors have internships, and all seniors have jobs. Their goals for 2023 are a portfolio rebalance, improve alumni engagement, and improve community outreach with events for high schools like “Invest in your Future”.  

CFO Lindsay shared her performance dashboard and noted an increase in scholarship awards from Access and Enrollment of over $950,000 from December 2021 to December 2022. Mrs. Lindsay also shared an endowment timeline noting the difference between freshman and all other allocations with Freshman awards being calculated first so the information can be included in their acceptance letters. Mrs. Lindsay noted that if market values continue to decline, then there are potential allocation issues and some supplemental funds may need to be used, but this is not anticipated for FY24 allocations.

Dr. Sharon Lovell (Dean, CHBS), Dr. Robert Aguirre (Dean, CAL), and John Tuell (Executive Director of RFK Center for Youth Justice) shared the exciting news about the Innovation Center for Youth Justice (ICYJ) which has been established at JMU. The center will focus on research, student internships with judicial courts, probation officers, public defenders, and law enforcement. The goal is to develop best practices for the youth justice system which improves focus on rehabilitation in order to reduce recidivism. The center will be the first of its kind within a university.

CEO Coleman provided the board with an FY23 update including investment returns for December 2022, underwater endowments, stewardship, royalties, new personnel, innovation and automation, and engagement.  He noted the publishing of the annual report, which can be viewed here: 2021-2022 Annual Report. He reminded the Trustees and Fellows of the board’s goal of 100 % participation in annual giving and suggested they use the upcoming “Reaching New Heights” giving week as an opportunity to meet that goal.  CEO Coleman also presented the following topics of discussion from the Association of Governing Boards Annual Conference that are critical issues at all foundations: Talent Management, Inclusive Philanthropy, Artificial Intelligence (AI), NIL Collectives, Innovation on Campuses, Board Professionals, Justice, Diversity, and Inclusion. Many of these are part of the JMU Foundation’s Strategic Plan and Mr. Coleman promised to remain focused on completing the remaining tasks of our Strategic Plan while staying focused on the short-term goals of the Foundation. He concluded by announcing May 18-19 as the dates of the spring committee and board meetings.           

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

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Published: Friday, February 17, 2023

Last Updated: Tuesday, March 14, 2023

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