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How WFAA Works With UW-Madison

As a private, non-profit corporation, WFAA is the official fundraising and gift-receiving organization for the university. We work closely UW–Madison schools, colleges, departments, and units to build affinity and raise funds that help the university thrive.

Policies and Agreements that Govern our Relationship

The Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association (WFAA) is and must be an independent entity, separate from the university to protect donor privacy and ensure donor intent.  To that end, WFAA acts as UW–Madison’s independent fundraising arm. Through a close, unique, and long-standing partnership with UW–Madison, WFAA can identify and support the university and donors’ priorities as well as coordinate advancement activities. 

Both the UW Foundation (UWF) and the Wisconsin Alumni Association (WAA) were created and governed by UW–Madison alumni and donors. This leadership model has continued since the 2014 merger between UWF and WAA which established the Wisconsin Foundation and Alumni Association. Now, UWF and WAA work together in harmony as WFAA to build a better UW future.

How WFAA Manages Funds for UW–Madison

Gifts received by donors are credited to respective funds based on donor’s documented intent for how monies are to be used.

Campus requests funds from WFAA, to support various campus priorities, including scholarships, building projects, research efforts, and the initiative of specific schools and programs based on donor’s intent of gifted monies. (You can learn more about these transfers and other fundraising information in our annual reports).

Donations will be directed to a fund based on donor intent.  Depending on the type of fund the gift monies are directed to, will determine if such gift monies will be invested in our endowment pool or our callable pool.   

Our Shared Commitment to Diversity

WFAA is dedicated and aligned to promoting the values of the University, including the value of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the operations and foundation of the organization. Thus, WFAA values people and the differences that they bring to the organization and creates an environment in which all staff members and constituents feel respected and have opportunities to thrive. To that end, WFAA believes that the support they provide as well as the benefits of the university should reach every alum, donor, student, and friend of UW–Madison from every background.

Best Practices that Govern our Relationship

WFAA staff believes that support grows out of good relationships between those on campus who need assistance and the alumni and friends who want to invest in UW–Madison. WFAA nurture those relationships and partner with UW administrators, faculty, and staff members to pursue vital fundraising goals. We work with the campus to understand university priorities, encourage gifts to fund those priorities, and help donors find the right fit for philanthropy while following the donor’s giving intent.

Doing this well—meaning WFAA increases the chances of meaningful giving to the university—requires extensive coordination between WFAA and advancement professionals on campus to achieve the results needed for UW–Madison. So, we would like to highlight the following:

Coordination is Key

Clear communication about the roles and responsibilities is key when coordinating the best path forward. So, WFAA and its partners must be clear when dealing with the touchpoints for donors and supporters as well as the different levels of gifts.

View our shared responsibilities resource

Stewarding Donors Matters

The best way to increase giving among current donors is to deepen our relationships with them. This occurs by thanking them in a personal way for their gift and demonstrating that their gift made an impact