The UWL Foundation was incorporated in 1967. In 1986-1987, UW-La Crosse Scholarships, Inc., formerly the La Crosse State College Foundation, was merged into the UWL Foundation and, later that same year, the State College Student Welfare Association was also merged into the Foundation, creating a single charity dedicated to "advancing philanthropy through service to our donors, campus and community."
The Foundation is a corporate entity separate and independent from the university and its chartered purpose is "to promote the welfare" of the university. It is a common pattern throughout the University of Wisconsin System, as well as nationally, that such charitable "institutionally related" foundations, tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, exist in conjunction with public universities. The reasons for this special relationship are:
(1) the Foundation offers donors the comfort and confidence of giving to an experienced, annually audited, locally owned and operated, qualified 501(c)(3) charity - most often a necessity if the donor is another qualified charitable entity - rather than giving directly to the university, an agency of state government;
(2) the Foundation's legal status as a separate, independent, nongovernmental organization protects donor dollars from state government control and shields donors' confidential records and information from being obtained and made public by government or the media through "open records" laws, protections vital and essential for effective and successful fundraising and gift management;
(3) the Foundation provides efficient fund access as well as the flexible management and disbursement policies that can allow the campus to take advantage of opportunities that might be beyond the limitations of university funding; and
(4) the Foundation provides a unique and significant opportunity for greater volunteer involvement in the life of the university by friends and alumni from throughout our community, state and nation.
UWL Foundation mission
The mission of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Foundation, Inc., an independent non-profit Wisconsin corporation that is qualified as a tax-exempt public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, is to promote the welfare of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse through charitable and educational activities that include encouraging, soliciting, receiving, managing and administering gifts from alumni, friends, businesses and other organizations to support scholarships, awards, grants, projects and programs that advance the mission of the university.
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse mission
The mission of the University is to provide a challenging, dynamic, and diverse learning environment in which the entire university community is fully engaged in supporting student success. Grounded in the liberal arts, UWL fosters curiosity and life-long learning through collaboration, innovation, and the discovery and dissemination of new knowledge. Acknowledging and respecting the contributions of all, UWL is a regional academic and cultural center that prepares students to take their place in a constantly changing world community.