The Wisconsin Academy Foundation is a separate 501(c)3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to secure and provide long term financial support for the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters. The Foundation manages an endowment fund of approximately $5 million.
Each year, interest earned from the endowment’s principal is contributed to the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts and Letters to support its programs and provide essential unrestricted operating support. These funds comprise approximately 38% of the Academy’s annual operating income.
In order to continue the growth of its endowment fund, estate gifts for the Wisconsin Academy are directed to the endowment fund. This practice maximizes the long term potential of valuable contributions while honoring the legacy of our donors. If you would like to learn more about making a gift to the Wisconsin Academy Foundation, please contact Amanda Shilling, director of development, at 608-263-1692, ext. 16.
Officers of the Foundation
President: Jack Kussmaul
Vice President: Andrew Richards
Treasurer: Diane Nienow
Secretary: David J. Ward
Founder: Ira Baldwin (1895-1999)
History of the Wisconsin Academy Foundation
The Wisconsin Academy of Sciences Arts and Letters was founded in 1870 by a distinguished group of Wisconsin citizens. At that time, it was recognized that the work of the Academy would be enhanced by creation of a permanent endowment fund, with the annual earnings to be applied to Academy operations. By 1875, a fund of $5,000 had been established for this purpose by member subscriptions.
During the period 1960–1980, several large bequests, notably from Professors Harry Steenbock and Elizabeth McCoy, added substantially to the corpus of this fund. In the 1980’s, Ira Baldwin (1895–1999), a renowned bacteriologist and university Vice President, suggested that the endowment funds held by the Academy be protected by the custody and oversight of a separately incorporated foundation, with board members experienced in financial matters.
In 1990–92, Terry Haller, a Madison businessman and Academy Council member, undertook to execute Dr. Baldwin’s vision to form the Wisconsin Academy Foundation. Working closely with the Council, this was accomplished in 1992, and a worthy board of directors was recruited from around the state to undertake operations. Mr. Haller served as the first board President, and Dr. Baldwin served as a board member until his 100th birthday. Richard Daniels was hired to serve as the first Executive Director of the foundation. Since its inception, the Academy Foundation has grown about five-fold from an initial one million dollars, and the annual support of the Academy has risen accordingly. This support has been vital to the Academy’s mission of connecting people and ideas for a better Wisconsin.