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The Other Buffalo Billion: Time for Transparency at the UB Foundation

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The Other Buffalo Billion Time for Transparency at the UB Foundation

University at Buffalo Chapter

February 23, 2016

Introduction: Artificial Austerity?[1]

Many UB students, staff, and faculty are adjusting to what appears to be a new era of austerity, born of dwindling State support. Austerity measures include rising tuition and fees, higher workloads, hiring freez­es, reduced support for research and professional develop­ment, and increased reliance on low-wage adjuncts.

But in 2013, for the first time, the total assets of the University at Buffalo Foundation topped one billion dollars. In that year, the UBF took in $218,000,000, spent $105,000,000, and increased its total assets by $91,000,000. It is the largest SUNY campus-related foundation by far.

Western New Yorkers are familiar with the Buffalo Billion, which has brought new State support and excite­ment to the region. But few know much about this other Buffalo Billion.

Where does the UBF’s money come from? Where does it go? Who decides? What interests and metrics deter­mine how these funds are spent and managed? What oversight is there of the vast sums the UBF owns and spends? In the difficult financial times in which UB finds itself, these questions deserve answers.

The UBF manages UB’s endowment and the donations made each year to benefit the University. Indeed, in jus­tifying its non-profit status annually, the UBF tells the IRS that its sole purpose is “to support and promote the activities and programs of the University at Buf­falo, State University of New York.” This is a wor­thy goal—worthy enough to deserve independent public oversight to determine precisely how the UBF operates and expends its resources “to support and promote” UB.

Through decades of hard work and generous giving, UB’s faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends have helped make the UBF the one-billion-dollar entity it is today. Given the remarkable resource these dedicated and diverse donors have built, and the enormous contri­butions the State itself has made to UB and the UBF, these stakeholders have an interest in ensuring the trans­parency of the UBF and its accountability to the public at large.

Nationwide, many state universities have recognized the need to increase public oversight of their founda­tions. Their experience shows that trans­parent foun­da­­tion spending and management are fully com­patible with preserving appropriate donor confi­den­tiality.

But crucial details about the UBF’s delib­erations, poli­cies, and expenditures have long been shrouded in dark­ness. To be a better steward of UB’s endowment, and out of respect for UB’s donors and State taxpayers, who have spent hundreds of millions of dollars build­ing UB as a public institution, the UB Foundation must open its books.

UBF Operates in UB’s Name

UB gives the UBF the right to use its name in its fundraising and other activities. And the UBF’s suc­cess in fundraising depends on the regard and respect that UB enjoys from alumni and community members. That regard and respect are earned primarily by the work of UB’s faculty, staff, and students, who have an important stake in the UBF’s operations.

Who Controls the UBF Billion?

The University at Buffalo Foundation was chartered by the State in 1962, absorbing the old University of Buffa­lo endowment. Since then, it has become a nest of seven affiliated non-profits, unlike the single foun­da­tions serv­­ing the other SUNY centers in Albany, Bing­ham­ton, and Stony Brook. It is run by twenty-nine em­ploy­ees, a Board of Trustees, a Board of Directors, and seven committees. UB’s President is a voting trus­tee, and other UB administrators are non-voting trustees.

From 1962 to 2011, the SUNY Board of Trustees appointed UBF board members. Then, after a local journal­ist brought suit to subject the UBF to the State’s Freedom of Information Law, and while that case was being litigated, the State Board of Regents ended the power of the SUNY Trustees to appoint UBF Board members. This eliminated a significant element of public oversight. Since then, the UBF itself exercises complete control over membership on its Boards of Trustees and Directors.

The listed qualifications and responsibilities for the UBF boards are reasonable, leading us to expect diverse community representation from faculty and staff, non-UB educators, and the business, not-for-profit, labor, government, and faith communities. In reality, however, almost all UBF board and committee members are builders, real estate developers, lawyers, invest­ment managers, and corporate executives. Many Board mem­bers have direct, indirect, or potential private busi­ness interests in UBF’s spending and investment, as highlighted in the examples below:

·       The UBF and Real Estate Developers. Sheldon M. Berlow serves on the UBF Board of Directors, its Audit and Properties Committees, and the boards of four UBF affiliates. He is an as­so­ci­ate broker at Cushman and Wakefield, whose website says he has been respon­si­ble for “site selection for the University at Buffa­lo and various dispositions for the University at Buffalo Foundation.” From 2002 to 2008, Buffa­lo developer Michael Joseph was a UBF Trustee. In 2005, his company paid $410,000 for a quarter-acre vacant lot in downtown Buffalo, then assessed at $55,700. In 2012, the company sold the lot to the UBF as part of the Buffalo-Niagara Medical Cam­pus for $1,260,000. This company insists it only broke even on that transaction because, before sel­ling the lot, it had to demolish a building on the site.


·       The UBF and Major UB Construction Contrac­tors. From 2006 to 2011, the late Frank Cimi­nelli and his son Paul were both Directors of four UBF affiliates. In 2010, the Town of Amherst issued a bond to one UBF affiliate, naming as “Con­struc­tion Man­a­ger” LPCiminelli Inc., a con­struc­tion com­­pany founded by Frank and wholly owned by his son Louis, Paul’s brother. The 2011 IRS 990 for that UBF affiliate acknowledges the relation­ship and describes LPCiminelli Inc. as an “inte­rested per­son” that received a construction contract valued at $48,013,153.


·       The UBF and Political Operatives. Since 2009, Paul Harder, Finance Chair for the 2010 re-election campaign of then Erie County Executive Chris Col­lins, has sat on one or another UBF board. In 2010, the UBF made two improper campaign con­tri­butions to the Collins campaign, possibly endangering its non-profit status. According to UB’s student newspaper, which broke the story, UB officials called the donation an “honest mistake,” and the Collins campaign returned the money the day after the newspaper story broke.


·       The UBF and Investment Managers. In 2003, after Stephen Walsh contributed $240,000 to the UBF, it nominated him to one of its boards. He also served on the UBF Investment Committee until 2009. During this time, his investment firm de­frauded, among others, university foundations and pension funds. In 2012, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ordered the UBF to repay Walsh’s contribution, which he had improperly diverted. In 2014, Walsh pled guilty to financial fraud involving over $554,000,000 and began serving a twenty-year prison term.


·       In 2011, SUNY Chancellor Nancy Zim­pher proposed that the SUNY Board of Trustees adopt new “Guide­lines for Conflict of Interest Policies of Cam­pus-re­lated Foundations.” Though we have not been able to determine whether these proposed guidelines are currently in effect, Chancellor Zim­pher’s proposal directs each campus-related foun­da­­tion like the UBF to “keep a written record of disclosures of actual or potential conflicts and to make such records available annually to the Audit Committee of the State University Board for public disclosure.”


·       The UBF has a conflict of interest policy that affirms its duty to comply with the SUNY “Guidelines for Conflicts of Interest Policies of Campus-related Foundations.” But there seem to be no postings of disclosures of actual or potential conflicts at the websites of either the SUNY Board of Trustees or its Audit Committee. Without more public disclosure, given that the UBF claims it is not subject to the State’s FOIL Law, it is impossible for the public to know how the UBF assesses and manages its conflicts of interest.

Given the wide-ranging business interests of its board members and the tens of millions of dollars that UB spends in Western New York each year, it is in the best interests of the UBF and its members to accede to great­er public transparency and accountability on conflict-of-interest issues. To continue resisting such open­ness ine­vi­tably raises the question: what is there to hide?


UBF Controls Public Resources

In the 2011 court case seeking to subject the UBF to the State’s FOIL Law, UBF’s Executive Director stated that it was “funded entirely by private donations and handles strictly private funds” and “does not handle public funds in any capacity.”

But the UBF’s own webpage reveals that only 16% of its yearly income derives from “private donations” (i.e., “Gifts, Bequests, and Private Grants”). Over the years, UBF has received substantial revenues from pub­lic sources, including money from the State Uni­versity Endowment Fund, income generated from State pro­perty and employees, and fees levied by the State on students and the general public attending events at UB.

·       State Endowment Funds Transferred to UBF. In 2008, SUNY transferred UB’s portion of what was then called the “State University Endowment Fund” to the UBF, adding over $200,000,000 in State funds. In recommending that transfer, SUNY Interim Chan­cel­lor Clark noted that the monies in the State Uni­ver­sity Endowment had been “given and bequeathed to the State Univer­sity,” and that SUNY was transferring the funds to the UBF with the understanding that it would manage them “as agent of the State University.” Notwithstanding the Chan­cel­lor’s proviso, those transferred monies now appear to be under the sole possession and control of the UBF.


·       UB-mandated fees generate revenue for UBF. SUNY policy states that foundations are “prohi­bi­ted from engaging in . . . activities that generate revenue from the use of state property.” This is true even though the UBF gains revenue from a fee called the General University Service Fee. UB itself imposes the GUSF on “all funds gene­rated through the use of university faculty or staff time and/or use of university facilities.” Students must pay this fee for certain courses involving labor­atory or art equip­ment. Between 2009 and 2013, the monies the UBF collected from the GUSF increased by 225%, with a 2013 total over $4,000,000.


·       Fees generated from UB property generate re­ve­nue for UBF. In 2013, the UBF collected reve­nue of over $73,000,000 from various acti­vi­ties that appear linked to UB property or staff. This includes nearly $3,000,000 in “unre­stricted reve­nue” from performances at UB’s Center for the Arts (a university facility), over $10,000,000 from a nebulous category called “other activities and services,” and $8,000,000 from a corporation mar­ket­ing medical software developed by UB faculty working on UB time.


·       UB student charges generating revenue for UBF. In 2013, a UBF affiliate collected over $23,000,000 from UB students living in housing sited on leased UB property. Some of these monies paid main­tenance costs, some paid off the UBF construction bonds, and some—over $1,700,000—appear to be general “profit” for the UBF.


·       UB educational programs generating revenue for UBF. SUNY policies state that foundations “are prohibited from engaging in . . . instructional and credit-bearing programs.” But in 2013, the UBF re­ported revenues of $19,500,000 from dental stu­dent training, “other educational service,” and Con­tinuing Education in such fields as Law, Den­tistry, Medicine, Pharmacy, and Social Work. These instructional programs, which award “cre­dits” toward various professional certifications, rely on UB resources, including UB’s campus and facilities, its status in conferring professional accreditation, and its staff, faculty, and websites. In these pro­grams, the UBF appears to derive “revenue from the use of state property” through “instruction­al” activities that award “credit” toward profession­al certifications. This practice seems inconsistent with prohibitions imposed by SUNY.

Why do all of these revenue streams from public sources channel monies into a foundation that insists it is a completely private entity which may spend that money as it sees fit? Why shouldn’t the deliberations and decisions about how that revenue is spent be subject to detailed public scrutiny? Or better yet, be placed under the control of a completely public entity?

UBF Spending

Who does benefit from the UBF’s resources? Despite its student-focused webpage, “Giving to UB,” scholarships are not a priority. Between 2007 and 2013, as the table below indicates, only 3.4% to 6.9% of UBF yearly spending went to student scho­lar­ships. In an era of burgeoning, devastating student debt, this low alloca­tion contrasts with those of many other university foundations around the country, which have prioritized scholarships. For instance, a drive at the University of Connecticut Foun­da­tion has sought to raise $30,000,000 annually to support students.

Given the priorities at other university foundations, some of the UBF’s 2013 operating expenses are dis­concerting. There were, for example, expenditures over $3,000,000 for “investment management fees,” over $4,000,000 for “office expenses,” and nearly $10,000,000 for a catch-all category denominated simply as “Other.” The IRS requires that an entry as large as this last one be broken down and itemized in its Form 990, Schedule O. Based on our review, it appears that the UBF has not done that.

Details about the UBF’s expenditures are especially noteworthy because, in recent years, its total assets have grown at a brisk clip: from $201,446,000 in 1997 to $1,057,068,000 in 2013, the latest year for which we have data. In that year alone, UBF’s total assets increased by a respect­able 9.5%, or $91,000,000. This rapid asset growth is hard to reconcile with current admonitions on campus that UB faculty and students must adjust to a new austerity regime.

In a recent New York Times article, “Stop Universities from Hoarding Money,” University of San Diego Law Professor Victor Fleischer shows that, because their lower tax rates are attractive to fund managers, uni­versity endowments are growing at a rapid rate. He advocates that universities spend a larger percentage of their endowments, saying that “sky-high tuition in­creas­es would stop, and maybe even reverse them­selves. Faculty members would benefit from greater research support. University libraries, muse­ums, hos­pitals and laboratories would have better facilities. Donors would see the tangible benefits of phil­anthropy. Only fund managers would be worse off.”

If the UBF had adopted such a strategy in 2013, retaining only $41,000,000 of its $91,000,000 increase, it would still have grown by a respectable 4% rate. That would have left $50,000,000 for new faculty, tuition rebates, scholarships, professional travel, con­ferences, library subscriptions, and a living wage for the growing corps of UB adjuncts, some of whom make less than the $15 minimum scheduled for fast food workers in the State.

Each year, the UBF assures the IRS that it exists only to serve UB. Given that goal, one might ask:

·       What strategic spending plan and priorities does UBF follow?


·       How are those plans and priorities decided upon?


·       How does, for example, the UBF determine the monies spent on investment managers, admini­strators, and vendors, compared to monies spent on faculty, staff, and students?


·       How does the UBF assess the efficacy and impact of its expenditure decisions and priorities?

Academic Governance and the UBF

The UB Administration does not consult with the Faculty Senate when deciding the current UBF annual budget of $105,000,000. That is true even though that expenditure is more than one-sixth of UB’s an­nu­al operating budget, and a far larger percentage of its discretionary spend­ing.

As UBF Executive Director Edward Schneider and the UBF’s website state, UB’s president and other top admin­istrators, not the UBF, make most deci­sions about UBF fundraising and spending. Because public offi­cials plan and spend, the public has a right to know the details. In December 2013, UB’s faculty unsuc­cess­fully asserted that right. Consistent with its over­sight responsibilities, the UB Faculty Senate passed a reso­lution asking the UB President to make the details of the UBF budget public:

Among the Faculty Senate’s responsibilities . . . is oversight of the budget and recommendation of funding priorities. A significant portion of the funds spent by the university, however, though spent by direction of the UB administration, is held by the University of Buffalo Foundation, which . . . is not subject to the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) and about which, accordingly, we are blind. The Faculty Senate, therefore, in a spirit of collegiality, to promote the transparency the citizens of New York expect of its public universities, and in order to fulfill our mandated responsibility request that the President and administration of the University at Buffalo make available the budget of UBF and its associated foundations as if it were subject to FOIL.


In March 2014, the UB President refused that request.

Academic Integrity and Freedom

In 2012, amid nationwide controversy, the UB Admin­i­stration dissolved its short-lived Shale Resources and Society Institute. SRSI received funding to study hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, or “hydrofracking.” To this day, we do not know if that funding came from private sources with an economic interest in the subject to be studied, thereby potentially compromising the independence and aca­demic integri­ty of research done under its aegis. We do know that SRSI began with unscholarly, straight-up advocacy for hydrofracking and a funding appeal that of­fered corpo­rate contributors to its UBF account the oppor­tunity to shape its research agenda.

But the UBF’s disclosure problems extend beyond the Shale Insti­tute. The State and the public also lack basic information regarding outsized UBF salary supplements to certain admin­i­­strators and faculty. Some UBF payments to faculty—for instance, those that support endowed chairs, re­search, conferences, or other academic activi­ties—are com­plete­ly proper. But even for those expenditures, there is no reason why the recipients, amounts, and UBF pro­ces­sing fees should continue to be hidden.

Some salary supplements paid by the UBF appear to be especially questionable. For example, in 2009, in a one-time disclosure to a local journalist, the UBF revealed salary payments it made to UB administrators or faculty supplementing their State salaries. Some of these salary “top-ups” amounted to tens of thousands of dollars a year, and several reached into the hundreds of thou­sands. According to the State Comptroller, such pay­ments improperly evade Civil Service salary caps.

Because the IRS requires non-profits to list their five “highest compensated employees,” we do know about some of those payments. In 2009, the UBF added $538,968 to UB President John B. Simpson’s State salary of $328,041. In 2010, it added $350,000 to the $400,000 State salary of Vice President for Health Sciences David L. Dunn. In 2012, it added $302,000 to the $361,000 State salary of Medical School Dean Michael Cain, and $265,000 to the $449,000 State salary of UB President Satish K. Tripathi.

But even this limited transparency disappeared in 2013, when the UBF stopped counting anyone but its own 29 staff members as “employees.” Consequently, it stopped listing UB administrators receiving six-figure top-ups among its “highest compensated em­ploy­ees.” Yet UBF salary payments continue to flow, largely in the dark. From 2008 to 2013, the UBF reported that its overall annual salary expenditures increased by 41%, climbing from $29,000,000 to $41,000,000. As the table below shows, these payments constituted nearly 40% of its 2013 budget, with 95% of that going to unnamed persons.

Are UBF funds still being used for questionable top-ups and corporate-style bonuses to State em­ployees? As things now stand, it’s impossible to say.

The Overdue UBF Audit

In its 1983 agreement with the State Comptroller, SUNY promised to audit university foundations at “peri­odic” intervals. But the SUNY Audit Office ac­know­ledges that, in the 33 years since then, it has audited the UB Foundation—SUNY’s largest—only once. That was in 2000. Another audit, initiated by the SUNY Audit Office in 2007, was cancelled in 2008.

Each year, an independent audit firm does examine and approve the UBF’s own accounting of its financial activities. But that firm acknowledges that it expresses “no opinion” as to “the effectiveness” of the UBF’s “internal control” procedures. That is, the firm does not independently evaluate the accuracy of the financial information provided to it by the UBF, or the adequacy of UBF systems to monitor its spending and investing.

This much is clear: the limited public record about specific expenditures hides much more than it reveals. For example, in its 2013 IRS 990, under the heading of “salary expense—non-employee,” the UBF lumped to­ge­ther total salaries of over $38,000,000.

The Wider Controversy

Across the country, disturbing problems have cropped up when trustees manage large pots of other people’s money without serious public oversight and account­ability. Some of those problems have triggered scandals in our very own SUNY system.

In 2009, J. Felix Strevell was sentenced for mail fraud for mismanaging the Institute for Entrepreneurship, a non-profit affiliated with SUNY’s Empire State College. New York State Comptroller H. Carl McCall—now Chair of the SUNY Board of Trustees—found the Institute guilty of fraudulent double-billing, and blamed inadequate oversight at the Institute, the College, and SUNY.

Similar problems have occurred in Albany at the SUNY Research Foundation. Unlike the UBF, it man­ages primarily government research money. Like the UBF, it insisted on operating in the dark, as a private entity. But in 2012, State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli found widespread abuses and declared that its “employees took advantage of lax oversight to cheat taxpayers, skirt state laws and violate the foundation’s own policies.” Fortunately, the Research Foundation is now subject to the State’s Freedom of Information Law.

More recently, at SUNY Upstate Medical School, the President used a private non-profit Upstate affiliate to provide questionable compensation for himself and other officers, and to pay for personal household ex­penses. In the ensuing scandal, he resigned.

Similar abuses have cropped up at university foun­dations nationwide. In 2005, donor lists at the Uni­ver­sity of Georgia Foundation revealed that col­leges awarded lucrative contracts to companies after they made donations to a fund supplementing the university chancellor’s salary. In 2013, the University of Texas Board of Regents ordered a review of the UT Law School’s Foundation for its forgivable loans and high com­pensation to certain faculty and admini­stra­tors. And the University of Louisville Foundation awarded a $120,000 no-bid contract to its former vice-chairman. Controversy at the University of Connect­icut Founda­tion focused on its 60% salary raise to the President. Other examples abound.

Notwithstanding these disturbing incidents, the nation­wide record also offers salutary examples of reform. In 2008, the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled that the Uni­versity of Louisville Foundation records “are public documents.” In 2015, after news of enormous deferred compensation packages to the Louis­ville President and top aides, two university trustees “called for the foun­da­tion to be folded into the university . . . to ensure transparency and better coordi­nation of compensation.”

In 2011, after a series of scandals at the University of California and California State University founda­tions—including a $1,250,000 loan issued by the So­no­­­ma State Foundation to a former board member, two days after he left the board—California made both systems subject to the State’s open record laws.

In 2010, the Student Press Law Center reported that “Courts in at least eight states . . . have ruled that foundations at public universities must obey the same open-records laws as the universities themselves.” By 2015, eleven states had ruled that state university foundations are “subject to . . . public disclosure laws.”




Which Way from Here?


In February 2016, the Committee on Open Government in the New York Department of State issued an advisory opinion that the UB Foundation is subject to FOIL. Pursuant to its authority under New York Public Officers Law, the Committee advised Mr. John Kaehny, Executive Director of Rein­vent Albany and Co-Chair, NYC Transparency Work­ing Group, of that decision. This advisory opinion concluded that a 2011 lower court ruling that the UBF was not subject to FOIL was “inconsistent with prior judicial de­terminations regarding ‘founda­tions’ chartered by the Regents of the State of New York created to sup­port and promote” SUNY and CUNY.


Committee on Open Government advisory opinions, though not strictly binding, “should be credited when . . . neither irrational or unreasonable” (Holden v. Board of Trustees, 80 A.D. 2d 378, 440 N.Y.S. 2d 58 [3d Dep’t. 1981]). This Advisory Opinion supports its conclusion that the UB Foundation is subject to FOIL with analysis and rulings from several court decisions, including Eisenberg v. Gold­stein and Siani v. The Research Foundation of the State Univer­sity of New York. The opinion letter explains that, “[a]s in the case of the foundations in Siani and Eisenberg, the UB Foundation would not exist but for its relationship with SUNY Buffalo.”

Moving from case law to common sense, it is difficult to understand why the UBF argues that, because 16% of its yearly revenues derive from donations, and be­cause some of these donors wish to remain anony­mous, all donations, expenditures, and investments must remain secret. This is particularly puzzling, given that legis­lation on university foundation transparency currently being considered in Albany explicitly pro­tects donor privacy. So does that already instituted in the University of California and Cal State systems.

Neither is there good reason for the UBF to oppose a second piece of legislation in Albany that would make public the payrolls for the UBF and other university foundations. New York State posts the salaries of all its civil servants. Why shouldn’t the UBF post the top-ups it pays to public employees?

Secrecy isn’t a necessity. It’s a choice. There is no con­flict between an efficiently-managed public university foundation and the civic virtue of transparency. Even if transparency reveals no further questions or concerns about the UBF, the increase in public confidence will be worth it. Recent scholarship indicates that trans­par­ency actually in­creases private donations to univer­sity foun­dations. UB alumni and New Yorkers more gene­ral­ly are proud of their public university. We have every reason to believe that transparency will encourage them to support it even more generously.

It’s time to shine a light at the UBF.



Professor Stephen C. Halpern, J.D., Ph.D.

Chapter President, American Association of Uni­ver­sity Professors



Professor Martha T. McCluskey, J.D., J.S.D.

Chap­ter Secretary and Treasurer



Professor Jim Holstun, Ph.D.

Chapter Member





UB Foundation Statistics: 1997-2013

This table derives from the limited information in two reports made public each year.

State charters and guidelines require university foun­da­tions to file yearly financial statements audited by an outside firm. These statements appear in the UBF annual reports from 1997 to 2004 and, thereafter, as a separate report. Column 1 links to these statements. Columns 2-5 derive from them.

The IRS re­quires all non-profits to file a yearly 990 form. Columns 6-8 derive from 990s for UB Foundation Activities, one UBF affiliate, with avail­able links in column 6.

During the years presented here, the IRS frequently changed its 990 form and, as noted, the UBF changed the way it defines “employees.” To deal with those changes, we determined salaries by the sum of all salary, payroll taxes, pension, and benefits-related ex­pen­ditures in the UBF 990 “Statement of Functional Expenses” (2000-2007 and 2012-2013) or, for 2008-2010, by the total listed for salaries in its “Summary.” We cannot determine salary data for 2011, when UBF seems to have mixed salary pay­ments with other payments.

For all years, the largest payment by far is for secret salaries (including top-ups, retirement, and benefits) paid to unnamed persons who do not work full-time for the UBF. For 1997 to 2013, the most striking trends are the 400% increase in UBF assets, the 265% increase in revenues, and the 190% increase in expenditures.


For 2000 to 2013, what stands out is the 174% increase in absolute spending on salaries, along with the increasing share (from 30% to nearly 40%) of overall spending devoted to salaries. And in 2007-2013, the years for which we have data on scholarships, we are struck by both the low overall average of annual scholarship spending (4.7%), and the low ratio of money spent on scholarships to that spent on salaries.




Total UBF assets

in $1000s

UBF revenue in $1000s

UBF spending, in $1000s

UBF spending as % of total assets

Total UBF

salary spending

in $1000s

Salaries as

% of UBF spending

Scholar­ships as % of UBF spending







Please see over for a petition on

UB Foundation transparency.


We need your help!


UB-AAUP Petition on

UB Foundation Transparency


On December 3rd, 2013, the UB Faculty Senate voted as follows: “The Faculty Senate, therefore, in a spirit of collegiality, to promote the transparency the citizens of New York expect of its public universities, and in order to fulfill our mandated responsibility request that the President and the administration of the University at Buffalo make available the budget of UBF and its associated foundations as if it were subject to FOIL.”


In the spirit of this resolution, we, the undersigned members of the UB community, and other SUNY donors and owners, the citizens of New York State, urge the UB Foundation and UB leadership to establish transparency for University at Buffalo Foundation revenues, expenditures, and investments—past, present, and future—while maintaining reasonable confidentiality for private donors.


If you support this request, please write or email us, listing your


1.         Name.



2.         UB affiliation: student (graduate or undergraduate, current or alum), faculty or staff (current or emerit), New York State citizen (if none of these).



3.         UB email or other email address, for verification.



4.         Any comments, suggestions, information you would like to share with us.






Petition signatures will be public; we will use and investigate any additional comments, suggestions, and information, but without publicly attributing them to you.


Please send completed electronic versions of the petition to UBAAUP@gmail.com


Please send paper copies to


Professor Jim Holstun

38 Lancaster Avenue

Buffalo NY 14222-1402


(716) 884-0895

[1] The opinions in this document do not represent the views of UB or any of its units or of the nationwide AAUP. We refer to all seven UBF affiliates as “the UBF” and to fiscal year July 1 2013 to June 30 2014, for example, as “2013.” 2013 is the latest year for which UBF data are publicly available. For a docx  version with hyperlink documentation, write jamesholstun@hotmail.com; for an online version, visit https://ubaaup.com/.

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