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UNM Foundation Opens Up

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The University of New Mexico Foundation, which has been warned to make its business more transparent, is adding audits and other documents to its website.

The website, at unmfund.org, will provide access to the foundation’s annual financial audit reports and its memorandum of agreement with UNM.

Foundation CEO Henry Nemcik said making additional documents public is part of the routine website development.

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“Since we launched our website, we have continually improved the quality and quantity of information posted. … Adding additional reports and documents is part of this ongoing effort to fully inform our community,” Nemcik said in a statement.

The foundation previously published only its yearly nonprofit report to the IRS, general summaries of its annual donations, the performance of UNM’s $340 million endowment fund and its investment management policy. Foundation officials had said some documents are not subject to the state Inspection of Public Records Act because the nonprofit was separated from UNM in 2008.

New public documentation is a step in the right direction, Regent President Jack Fortner said Friday.

“I think the good news is that the foundation understands the importance of openness. I think the atmosphere in New Mexico is when in doubt, keep it open,” he said.

Fortner criticized the foundation last week after officials withheld the name of their recommended endowment adviser until the day before regents were scheduled to approve the $230,000 annual contract. The board approved the deal, but Fortner and other regents warned the foundation needs to be more transparent.

“Certainly, there times that things need to be kept in private meetings, but I appreciate the foundation and (board chair) Gary Gordon taking some direction (of) ‘let’s keep this open as much as possible,’ ” he said.

The foundation receives about $1.2 million directly from the university and takes an administrative fee of about $5 million a year from the endowment for managing the multimillion-dollar fund.

The foundation’s operations need to be accessible to the public to ensure potential donors to UNM feel comfortable about how their money is being spent, Fortner said.

“They’re such an important part of the university and its mission, raising money for so much of the university, that we’ll have to be on the same page,” he said.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal


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