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$500,000 gift from alumnus to expand philanthropy studies at the UI

October 15, 2013

Gift contributes to For Iowa. Forever More: The Campaign for the University of Iowa

A $500,000 gift to the University of Iowa Foundation from Kevin (1980 B.B.A.) and Donna Gruneich will strengthen the University of Iowa Fundraising and Philanthropy Communication Certificate Program. The Gruneich gift—part of For Iowa. Forever More., the UI’s $1.7 billion comprehensive campaign—will facilitate a biannual symposium of academics and professionals exploring the field of philanthropy.

Previous support from the Gruneichs was instrumental in creating the Fundraising and Philanthropy Communication Certificate Program, one of the few undergraduate philanthropy studies programs in the nation. The program, which is administered by the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, provides students of all majors the opportunity to prepare for careers—and leadership roles—in the nonprofit sector.

 Ann Haugland, academic coordinator of the program, says Gruneich’s support will help further Iowa’s commitment to the emerging field of philanthropy studies. “Kevin’s first gift gave us a start; we now have more than 50 students enrolled in the certificate program,” says Haugland. “His new gift allows us to both enrich the classroom experience for undergraduates and encourage graduate students in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication to study fundraising and philanthropy communication.”

 Melissa Tully, assistant professor of philanthropy communication, says the gift will enable philanthropy studies at Iowa to reach more students. “We are so excited about Kevin’s gift and the opportunities it gives to develop the Fundraising and Philanthropy Communication Program,” says Tully. “The symposium is one way we plan to expand the reach of the program by providing an opportunity for professionals, academics, students, and the community to come together to discuss the state of fundraising and philanthropy.”

 Kevin Gruneich graduated from the UI in 1980 with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree. Now semi-retired, Gruneich remains involved in private business ventures and serves on several corporate and philanthropic boards. With his wife, Donna, he administers The Kevin and Donna Gruneich Charitable Foundation, supporting philanthropic causes with a focus on education, religion, environmental protection, and helping the underprivileged.   

 “This gift is the first installment of a million-dollar contribution. Donna and I began underwriting the Philanthropic Studies Program nearly five years ago to assist in its 2011 launch,” says Kevin Gruneich. “We could not be prouder of the students and faculty that have proven the necessity of this program and its opportunity to leverage their skills into long-term philanthropic legacies. They have shown to us this program should be given further support and be a priority at UI.”

 Previous gifts from the Gruneichs established the Kevin Gruneich Opportunity at Iowa Scholarship Fund, which provides support for students from underrepresented minority groups at the University of Iowa; and Iowa Edge, a program that provides orientation, programming, community-building, and counseling support for new UI minority and first-generation college students. The Gruneichs are gold members of the UI Presidents Club, which recognizes Iowa’s most generous contributors. Kevin Gruneich also has served on the UI Foundation Board of Directors since 2006.

About the University of Iowa Foundation

The University of Iowa Foundation’s mission is to advance the University of Iowa and fulfill the aspirations of those it serves. The university’s dedicated contributors fund a broad array of needs, from student scholarships, breakthrough research and life-changing health care to innovative facilities, community outreach and global education.

The UI and UI Foundation are conducting a historic comprehensive $1.7 billion fundraising campaign, For Iowa. Forever More: The Campaign for the University of Iowa, which will secure the UI’s status as a world-class institution for future generations.

 The University of Iowa Foundation is the preferred channel for private contributions that benefit all areas of the University of Iowa. For more information about the foundation and the campaign, visit the foundation website at

MEDIA CONTACT: Dana Larson, executive director, communications and marketing, the University of Iowa Foundation; 319-335-3305 or 800-648-6973;