Foundation President Phillip M. Plant
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is one of this city’s most important engines of economic growth. The University is a driving force projecting Corpus Christi to major city status, and it is a force that plays a leading role in higher education for South Texas.
As the University has gained momentum, it has become incumbent on this Foundation to help continue that growth. The Foundation plays an integral role in providing financial support to further the University’s mission of graduating students, developing major programs, attracting a higher level of students, maintaining high academic standards and building a national reputation. This is truly an exciting mission.
My vision as Foundation President is to fulfill its potential of becoming a $100 million organization over the next 10 years by building upon the University’s exceptional programs and institutes and by improving the Foundation’s investment strategies, which are already being put in place.
I have a goal for this Foundation—to compete and eventually be able to compare ourselves nationally to the best in the country. We will continue working toward this goal through focused, dedicated stewardship.
The Foundation gains the admiration and confidence of donors when its assets are well managed and when respect for donor intent is shown through clear accountability and communication. We remain highly vigilant of proper and timely response to donor requests. The better we are as stewards, the more community support we will garner.
The Foundation fills two major roles for the University: shepherding its assets and helping it to achieve its goal of making college a reality for students needing financial assistance. That need for student financial assistance is ever growing. As state funding diminishes, universities need more scholarship money. According to an A&M-Corpus Christi review of state support and student tuition, fifteen years ago the state provided more than 55 percent of University funding. In 2005 that figure had been reduced to 35 percent.
The importance of supporting student financial assistance is dramatic. To illustrate, a $300,000 gift to our Foundation will support a full-ride scholarship for one student, year after year, on the interest the gift accumulates with a rate of return of 4.25 percent.
Recently, the Foundation hosted a retreat led by Curtis Meadows, formerly of The Meadows Foundation, an organization that manages over $800 million in assets. Meadows challenged us to come up with what he termed a “big, hairy, audacious goal.” And that is the goal we must determine and accomplish in order to move up to the next level.
The Foundation exists in order to work along a parallel path with the University’s development efforts, such as increasing support from alumni and helping with special projects. One of the ways to achieve the Foundation’s and the University’s goals is to increase our donor base through direct contact by Foundation Board members.
The University is this community’s most important entity in fostering and sustaining intellectual focus, and the Foundation Board plays a critical role in providing essential financial assistance to students and the University. We appreciate the people who serve on this Board and their passion for the mission. They are, and will continue to be, an asset to the campus community for years to come. We certainly have an excellent location, the necessary vision and the passion to make our goals a reality. Please join us in making A&M-Corpus Christi the premier higher education institution in the area.