By Francis M. Letro
Recently three UB faculty circulated a report maligning the University at Buffalo Foundation (UBF). This report was the third attempt by these individuals to discredit the good work of UBF and its dedicated volunteers.
These claims rehash allegations made in two prior documents, claims that were thoroughly analyzed and rebutted by UBF. These claims and UBF’s rebuttals were reviewed by the SUNY counsel’s office and by the Audit Committee of the SUNY board of trustees, which concluded in the fall of 2015 that UBF adequately addressed the claims without the need for any further or corrective action.
As chairman of the UBF board, I am writing to respond to The Buffalo News editorial criticizing UBF.
UBF is an autonomous, independently governed, not-for-profit corporation whose true, and only, role is to support UB and its students, faculty and staff. UBF’s activities on behalf of the university are conducted in accordance with the highest standards of accountability and transparency, in full compliance with law and in accordance with best practices within the national higher education community.
With UBF’s support, UB is able to make a tremendous impact on students, faculty and staff and, in turn, the Buffalo community. For example: with funding from UBF, the university moved quickly ahead on a new medical school building downtown, saving taxpayers millions in construction costs. Without UBF’s support, the project would have been delayed for years or may never have happened at all.
Through UBF, the university uses nontaxpayer revenues to provide jobs to hundreds of people in our region and to recruit talent from all over the world. Most significantly, UBF provides donors with the confidence to support UB. The university’s generous supporters can be certain that UBF is a careful steward of their donations and UB’s endowment.
Private giving to UB, assisted by UBF, helps the university invest millions each year in student scholarships, academic programs and facilities. When a donor gives to UB, the funding is used only for what the donor intended.
UBF’s status as a private organization is essential for attracting and safeguarding financial gifts that benefit students, faculty and academic programs. Without private funding, UB could not fully achieve its academic mission. Going forward, UBF will continue to do good for the university and the community.
The people of our region and state can be confident this work is being carried out ethically, lawfully and always in the best interests of the university and the community. We invite you to visit the UBF website, ub-foundation.org, for more information about our mission and activities.
Francis M. Letro is chairman of the UBF board of trustees.