A Report from University Advancement

The cadence of an academic year at Western Washington University is one that is familiar and comforting in so many ways.

As the weather cools and the days shorten, faculty and students return to the classroom to continue the cycle of teaching, learning and discourse. When the stunning fall colors of Bellingham fade to the grey of winter, many are drawn indoors to watch a basketball game in Carver, gather for study sessions or enjoy a hot cup of coffee in Viking Union. Then, as the campus reawakens following Spring Break, flowers reappear, the green grass of Old Main Lawn becomes an afternoon playground and students rush to complete projects and prepare for graduation and life after Western.

But while predictable, each year is punctuated by thoughtful and transformational generosity, activities that create community and, this past year, the uniting of two organizations to better serve all alumni, donors and WWU community members.

The 2022-23 academic year was bookmarked by two significant gifts: $5 million from 1980 alumnus Paul Rady to create a fellows program for geology graduate students and establish an endowed chair in the discipline in honor of his academic mentor, Dr. Ned Brown. Then, in spring, Paul Merriman, ’66, made a $3.6 million commitment to establish a financial literacy program to support

students, faculty, staff and the greater community. Both transformational, both impactful, both to enhance the student experience.
In between, you helped make Give Day the most successful ever, contributing more than $1.1 million to your favorite program, team and student club. Overall, your generosity provided $24.4 million in support of Western, a 30% increase from the previous year. Gifts to the Student Success Scholarship Fund provided much needed awards for entering students resulting in the largest class of first-year students in Western’s storied history. Through endowment support, nearly $4.2 million will be allocated this current year to support programs and scholarships. Thank you!
Back2B’ham saw 1,200 registrants, and nearly 200 WWU alumnae came back to campus to receive their athletic letter at our Title IX celebration. Thousands of alumni participated in Western Engaged activities from online presentations to departmental and athletic reunions to regional gatherings. It was an incredible year.
Finally, I am so pleased that the WWU Foundation and the WWU Alumni Association Boards of Directors voted to merge to create The Foundation for WWU & Alumni. This new organization will combine the talents and mission of two separate entities to better serve the entire Western community

through collaborative programming and increased efficiencies. We will engage you on a deeper and more meaningful level and I thank you in advance for your continued commitment of time, talent and treasure.
Thank you for making more possible. You make the Western experience a more powerful and impactful one for so many. I look forward to seeing you on campus or at a WWU event in your neighborhood.

Kim O'Neil posing on a walkway surrounded by greenery, wearing a dark blue blazer and blouse and gray skirt

Kim O'Neill

Vice President, University Advancement

President and CEO, The Foundation for WWU & Alumni

Financial Summary

Total Value of gifts and Services Provided to the University

Bar chart, X-axis has fiscal years 2014 through 2023, Y-axis has millions of dollars. FY15 $6.1, FY15 $6.1, FY16 $7.5, FY17 $7.6, FY18 $8.8, FY19 $8.3, FY20 $7.7, FY21 $7.6, FY22 $10.4, FY23 $11.1

Over the past 10 years, the amount of support provided by the Foundation to the University has grown from just over $6.0 million annually, to over $11 million today.

Total Endowment Assets Under Management

Bar chart, X-axis is fiscal years 2019-23, Y-axis is millions of dollars. FY19 $93.2, FY20 $94.2, FY21 $124.0, FY22 $124.0, FY23 $125.8

Total Endowment Assets Under Management includes assets owned directly by the Foundation, as well as endowed assets managed by the Foundation on behalf of the University.

Total Contributions to the Foundation by Fiscal Year

Bar chart. X-axis is fiscal years 2019-23, Y-axis is millions of dollars. FY19 $13.5, FY20 $23.5, FY21 $10.1, FY22 $17.4, FY23 $24.4

Endowment Fund Returns

Bar chart, X-axis is fiscal years 2019-23, Y-axis is Rate of Return. FY19 6.6%, FY20 0.9%, FY21 28.4%, FY22 -12.6%, FY23 11.2%

Endowment fund returns bounced back for fiscal year 2023 after a challenging 2022 where markets experienced significant volatility in both the stock and bond markets.