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Monday, October 2, 2023

UH System

UH liquidates four endowments

The UH System Board of Regents met Wednesday to discuss the future of four endowment funds, one of which was failing to bring in any funding and three of which were found to be in violation of state law.

“The two Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo endowments and the Federation of Houston Professional Women Endowment stipulate the scholarships only be awarded to U.S. citizens, and in the case of the FHPW endowment, the additional criterion of awarding scholarships only to female students. These criteria are not consistent with state law,” according to the agenda item presented at the board meeting.

The two endowments from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo have been in place with UH since 1987 and have since contributed more than $14 million in scholarships. The FHPW has been partnering with UH via its scholarship fund since 1988.

“Occasionally, the University will have scholarships with requirements that are not consistent with Texas law, and they are transferred to the University of Houston Foundation. Three such scholarships were transferred,” said UH Treasurer Raymond Bartlett.

The scholarships from these funds were found to be in violation of state laws regarding discrimination in the awarding of scholarships. The issue was only just now handled due to the need to deliberate with the groups awarding the scholarship.

“The Division of University Advancement works on an ongoing basis to identify gift agreements that conflict with state law or federal law,” said Director of Media Relations Shawn Lindsey. “If the donor is available, DUA works with the donor to either modify the scholarship selection process or move it to the UH Foundation, which is what happened with these scholarships.”

The fourth fund, from Computing Center Scholarship Endowment, is essentially an endowment project that never reached fruition. An endowment fund typically prohibits the spending of the fund’s startup capital in the endowment’s awards, and no money was ever raised for the endowment beyond the original $700 gift to begin the fund.

“Future gifts were not made, and an endowment was never established,” Lindsey said. “The proceeds of the original donation were transferred to the Staff Council Scholarship Fund at UH in accordance with UH System policy.”

The docket item estimates the market value of the four funds at approximately $600,000.

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