Texas A&M Foundation 2020 Annual Report

Welcome to the Texas A&M Foundation’s 2020 annual report.

George K. Hickox and Eddie J. Davis

With Endless Thanks

When we reflect on the history of Texas A&M University from its humble beginnings as a land-grant college to the tremendous institution of higher education it is today, we do not see a story of uncomplicated growth and prosperity. Rather, we see a history rife with challenges; one in which Aggies routinely faced difficult and unprecedented circumstances. Most importantly, we see how their resilient response to each challenge not only made the university stronger but also shaped what it means to be an Aggie over time.

Make no mistake: This year challenged Texas A&M and the Texas A&M Foundation as much as it did every other great institution across the world. However, we present this annual report with great pride, gratitude and hope because so many Aggies and friends of the university offered their support in the face of adversity. Even amidst a dire financial crisis in the second half of fiscal year 2020, our donors continued to give generously toward the advancement of our university and its students, faculty and staff.

Despite the events of this year, our chief focus remained the same: to conclude the historic Lead by Example capital campaign and raise $4 billion for Texas A&M by the end of the year. Thanks to gifts from thousands of individuals, corporations and foundations who invested in Aggieland, we will surpass the goal by an impressive margin. That may seem surprising to some, but not to us. The instinct to go above and beyond is as much a part of Texas A&M’s identity as its unique and timeless values. So, while we remain unsurprised by your boundless generosity during this campaign, we also remain deeply grateful for it.

This report includes just a few of the notable major gifts we received this fiscal year, including a
$5 million commitment from Ellie and Don Knauss to name the Veteran Resource & Support Center, a $10 million gift from Sugar and Mike Barnes ’64 to name the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering, and a monumental 2,500-acre real estate planned gift from Deborah and Bill Keyes. Even though the Lead by Example campaign’s goal is well defined, the collective impact that its gifts will have on Texas A&M’s future is beyond measure.

We are just as proud to announce another milestone worthy of celebration. We have worked with the Division of Student Affairs to measure and count the number of student service hours given to various volunteer causes throughout the campaign. Although a new initiative, we have confidently documented almost 12 million hours given in service by the student body and are counting those as another way Texas A&M leads by example!

Through thick and thin, our donors have remained faithful in their commitment to building a brighter future for this university. While your selfless contributions may not make the headlines as easily as stories of setbacks and strife, your legacy will live on in the generations of students who learn to be leaders right here in Aggieland.

Thanks for all you do and for leading by example.

Kathleen Gibson ’81

Board Chair

Kathleen Gibson

Tyson Voelkel '96

President & CEO

Tyson Voelkel

2020Lead by Example Campaign

A $4 Billion Campaign for Texas A&M University

In 2015, Texas A&M University’s fundraising partners publicly announced the Lead by Example campaign, an ambitious and historic initiative to raise $4 billion for Texas A&M by the end of 2020. As the largest higher education fundraising endeavor ever undertaken in Texas and one of the largest nationally, the campaign encompasses all private gifts benefiting Texas A&M since Jan. 1, 2012, including gifts from individuals, foundations and corporations through the Texas A&M Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation, the George & Barbara Bush Foundation, and the Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets Association.

A truly collective effort, gifts ranging in size from a few dollars to the multimillions have been given by first-time donors and longtime friends. These individuals include not only former students, but also those drawn to Aggieland for its values, culture and academic strengths.

Through the end of 2020, all gifts to Texas A&M will still count toward the campaign’s total. You can learn more about the campaign’s transformative impact at leadbyexample.tamu.edu.


Gifts made by individual, corporate and foundation donors

$1.1 billion

Committed through individuals’ estate plans


Gifts above $1 million

Campaign Gift Allocation

  • Colleges29%
  • Faculty & Research20%
  • Students18%
  • Campus Construction14%
  • Unrestricted11%
  • Athletics8%

Campaign contributions are funding programs within Texas A&M colleges, faculty and research initiatives, campus construction, student scholarships and athletic programs. Unrestricted funds represent contributions that have not yet been designated by donors.

2020Foundation Financials

Change in Net Assets

The Foundation's net assets increased 2.5% during the 2020 fiscal year.

$2,140,000,000 Total net assets
in fiscal year 2020
2.5% Net asset increase
in fiscal year 2020
Annual totals for fiscal years 2011-2020

Gifts to Texas A&M

Donors gave more than $289 million to the Texas A&M Foundation and Texas A&M University during fiscal year 2020. This total includes cash gifts, future pledge payments at full face value, and revocable and irrevocable planned gifts.

For every dollar raised during the past five years, the Foundation has spent an average of 13.5 cents.


Total donors


Total number of gifts received


Total value of gifts received


Average gift value

$0.01 to $45,000,000

Range of gift value

The A&M Legacy Society

The A&M Legacy Society recognizes individuals, corporations and organizations whose cumulative giving through Texas A&M University, the Texas A&M Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation and the George & Barbara Bush Foundation totals $100,000 or more.

New Members

Total Members



Heritage members in the A&M Legacy Society are individuals who have included a gift for the benefit of Texas A&M in their estate plans.



Number and Value of Gifts by Class Year

4,398 former students made 8,136 gifts to the Texas A&M Foundation totaling more than $97 million during fiscal year 2020.


Total value of gifts received from former students during fiscal year 2020

Giving by Donor Location

More than 12,000 gifts totaling more than $165 million came from donors residing in Texas. Donors in Maryland gave 39 gifts totaling more than $35 million, while donors in California contributed 476 gifts for more than $9.8 million—making those states second and third in total gift value, respectively. Sixty gifts came from donors living overseas.

International donations



National donations



$180,291,675 Gift total

Sources of Gifts Received in FY 2020

  • Former Students33%
  • Private, Family & Other Foundations21%
  • Corporations21%
  • Organizations14%
  • Friends11%

Contributions from former students, friends, and private and family foundations (many formed by former students) make up 65 percent of gifts to the university and the Foundation, while gifts from corporations and other organizations make up 35 percent of the total.

Following generally accepted accounting principles, this total includes pledges and irrevocable planned gifts.

Leading Corporate and Foundation Donors by FY 2020 Cumulative Giving

Many donors double, triple or quadruple the amount of their gifts by taking advantage of a corporate matching program. During fiscal year 2020, corporate and foundation donors matched 4,229 gifts to the Texas A&M Foundation for a total of $73.9 million.

$180,291,675 Gift total

Where FY 2020 Gifts Were Directed

  • College Impact41%
  • Student Impact37%
  • Other Impact*12%
  • Spirit Impact7%
  • Faculty Impact3%

Each gift received by the Foundation is linked to one of four designated “impact areas.”

*Includes gifts that pass to non-university accounts, such as the Texas A&M University System and The Association of Former Students’ matching funds, as well as Texas A&M Foundation gifts in holding and class gift funds, for which donors have not yet identified the gift impact area.

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Student impact represents academic scholarships and fellowships to undergraduate and graduate students. Faculty impact refers to gifts that fund faculty chairs, professorships and fellowships. College impact gifts help a college or department through discretionary or building funds, which in turn support faculty and students through improved teaching and learning environments. Spirit impact gifts cultivate student organizations, traditions and other outside-the-classroom programs.


College Impact


Student Impact


Spirit Impact


Faculty Impact

Foundation Funds Made Available to Texas A&M

The Foundation annually makes millions of dollars available to Texas A&M for students, faculty, facilities and programs according to donors’ wishes. In fiscal year 2020, these funds totaled $114.1 million.

These funds consist of non-endowed gifts—funds made available to disburse immediately rather than invested by the Foundation—and income from endowments.



Annual total for fiscal year 2019



Annual total for fiscal year 2020

Planned Giving by the Numbers

The Foundation’s Office of Gift Planning helps donors establish after-lifetime and dual-benefit gifts that will aid Texas A&M University and its students in the future. For fiscal year 2020, the Foundation documented $151.9 million in planned gifts, which includes gifts that will be received by the Texas A&M Foundation, The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation and the George & Barbara Bush Foundation. During the last 10 years, the Foundation has documented nearly $1.1 billion in planned gift expectancies.


Total value of planned gifts documented


Number of planned gifts documented

$2,000 to $45,000,000

Range of gift value


Value of realized gifts during fiscal year 2020


Value of realized gifts in the last 10 years

New Endowments Breakdown

The Foundation prides itself on enhancing the academic experience at Texas A&M University for both students and faculty. Donors who create endowments for scholarships, chairs, professorships, fellowships and various other needs leave a legacy that enhances Texas A&M’s core mission of providing the highest-quality undergraduate and graduate programs.


Total scholarship and faculty endowments in fiscal year 2020


Scholarships & Graduate Fellowships


Other Endowments*


Faculty Chairs, Professorships & Fellowships

*The 64 other endowments include those supporting student organizations, college-based programs and excellence funds, study abroad initiatives and the university libraries, among others.

$289,934,698* Gift total

Gifts Received by Type

  • Revocable/Irrevocable Planned Gifts51.39%
  • Pledges27.78%
  • Current/Cash11.93%
  • Securities3.28%
  • Realized Bequests2.43%
  • Trusts1.16%
  • Online1.10%
  • Retirement Accounts0.72%
  • Real Estate0.14%
  • Life Insurance0.06%
  • Gifts-in-Kind0.01%

The majority of gifts received by the Foundation during fiscal year 2020 include pledges, revocable or irrevocable planned gifts, and current gifts of cash.

*This total includes cash gifts, future pledge payments at full face value, and revocable and irrevocable planned gifts

Gift Comparison

Gift Type

Gift Total

Planned Gifts $149,004,149
Current $133,878,432
Realized Bequests $7,052,117

The Foundation received more than $149 million in planned gifts and more than $133 million in current gifts of cash or pledges during fiscal year 2020. This total does not include planned gifts that will be received by The Association of Former Students, the 12th Man Foundation and the George & Barbara Bush Foundation. Realized bequests make up the remaining portion in total dollars received.

*This total includes cash gifts, future pledge payments at full face value, and revocable and irrevocable planned gifts.

Endowment Values by Unit

Shown below is the value of each unit’s endowment held by the Texas A&M Foundation for the benefit of Texas A&M University as of June 30, 2020. The combined value of these endowments totals more than $1.57 billion.

*Includes Texas A&M University Press, KAMU-TV, Reed Arena, non-designated endowments and endowments with split beneficiaries.

Endowment Performance Over Time

The Texas A&M Foundation invests endowments using asset allocation to maximize growth while safeguarding capital during tough economic times. The chart below illustrates the market value of a $100,000 endowed scholarship created in 2000 and its cumulative value of student stipends. This single endowment would have paid out approximately $5,000 annually for a total of $105,931 by 2020. Its market value after 20 years would be $126,904.

Long-Term Investment Pool Growth

The long-term investment pool (LTIP)—which has a total value of $1.9 billion—has consistently met or exceeded our portfolio management guidelines, resulting in both the growth of funds available to Texas A&M University and the asset size of the portfolio. The LTIP is composed mostly of endowments, but also includes other non-endowed funds invested for the long term.

Investment Performance

The Foundation has a solid record of investing. Over the years, investment performance has consistently met internal performance goals and outperformed many peer organizations, ranking in the first or high second investment quartile. The long-term investment pool's 15-year return of 6.4% has accomplished the mission of preserving the spending power of the endowment while enduring two historic market moving events in the 2008 Global Financial Crisis and the 2020 Great Coronavirus Recession.

Prior to 2015, the long-term investment pool (LTIP) was benchmarked against a passive index comprised of a global equity index and a domestic bond index (75% MSCI ACWI/25% Barclays U.S. Bond Aggregate Index). In 2015, the Foundation’s Board of Trustees implemented a new policy benchmark that better reflects the target asset allocation of the LTIP. Our custodian bank was able to back test the new policy benchmark for returns prior to 2015, but only back to 2012. As such, we are not able to produce a 10 and 15-year return for the new policy benchmark. We are still able to report the old 75/25 benchmark for all periods shown here.

Long-Term Investment Pool Asset Allocation

By investing assets, the Foundation seeks to preserve the purchasing power of gifts while providing steady earnings for Texas A&M. The Foundation’s long-term investment pool, which has a total value of $1.9 billion, is composed mostly of endowments, but also includes other non-endowed funds invested for the long term.

$1,920,377,084 Market value
  • Public Equity48%
  • Private Equity15.7%
  • Real Assets14.4%
  • Fixed Income10.6%
  • Opportunistic6.7%
  • Cash4.5%


Every gift makes an impact. Here’s a look at how a few significant gifts from the past fiscal year are benefiting Texas A&M University students, faculty, colleges and programs.

An Anniversary Gift

In celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Texas A&M University, Sugar and Mike Barnes ’64 established a major endowment in excess of $10 million to support the department’s general operations. To recognize their generous investment, the department was renamed the Wm Michael Barnes ’64 Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering.

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A Humble Salute

Ellie and Don Knauss of Sugar Land, Texas, committed a $5 million gift to the Texas A&M Foundation to support and name Texas A&M University’s Veteran Resource & Support Center. As part of the Division of Student Affairs, the center provides resources for nearly 1,300 Texas A&M student veterans and their family members.

Read More

Aggies Take Washington

Texas A&M University announced plans to open a new teaching site in Washington, D.C., featuring the Bush School of Government and Public Service. Made possible through financial support from the Diana Davis Spencer Foundation, the new site is located within several blocks of the White House and other key government buildings. While the location is expected to open in the fall of 2020, classes toward a new Master of International Policy degree will commence in early 2021.

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For the Love of a Horse

Through a gift of real estate, Deborah and Bill Keyes of Dripping Springs, Texas, have committed one of the largest planned gifts during the Lead by Example campaign. They have included a gift in their estate plans of their 2,500-acre ranch to the Texas A&M Foundation to be held for educational purposes at Texas A&M University after their lifetimes. The gift honors Casey, their Rocky Mountain gelding, and the Texas A&M veterinarians who have cared for him through the years.

Read More

“Mike and Sugar Barnes care deeply about Texas A&M and ensuring a top-quality engineering education for generations of students to come. We deeply appreciate their generous support and are proud to have the Barnes’ name affiliated with our industrial and systems engineering program.”

-Dr. M. Katherine Banks
Vice Chancellor and Dean
College of Engineering

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“With this gift, I have a simple answer when people ask me what the VRSC will look like in 2030: There won’t just be hundreds of success stories like we’re currently witnessing—there will be thousands! Don and Ellie are helping to write these stories. They are literally changing lives for those who have served our great country.”

-Col. Jerry Smith '82
Director of the Don and Ellie Knauss VSRC

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“The expansion of Texas A&M and the Bush School into Washington, D.C., is consistent with the vision of the school’s founder and namesake, the late President George H.W. Bush. President Bush believed that public service is a noble calling. The opportunity to educate future leaders in our nation’s capital allows us to reach so many more students who are following, or seeking to follow, that noble calling.”

-General Mark A. Welsh III
Dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service

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“We are very grateful to Deborah and Bill Keyes for entrusting their impressive Texas Hill Country ranch to Texas A&M University in recognition of the robust relationship built between the Keyes and the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences’ (CVMBS) large animal veterinarians who treated their beloved horse, Casey. This substantial planned gift from the Keyes establishes an extraordinary legacy in recognition of the compelling bond between animals and the veterinarians who have dedicated their lives to caring for them at the CVMBS.”

-Dr. John August
Interim Dean, College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences

View Full Story


The Texas A&M Foundation matches your interests to funding priorities, no matter what your passion. Below are a few of our major fundraising initiatives for the coming year.

Foster Inclusion on Campus

Housed in the College of Education and Human Development and launched in 2019, Aggie ACHIEVE (Academic Courses in Higher Inclusive Education and Vocational Experiences) is an inclusive four-year transition program for young adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

ACHIEVE students successfully navigate campus life with the help of ACHIEVEMates, a group of undergraduates who provide academic, well-being and social support. Participants live on campus, join student organizations and enroll in various Texas A&M courses. Students also complete on-campus internships and will complete off-campus internships in more specialized areas during their junior and senior years. Upon completion, students receive a Certificate in Interdisciplinary Studies from Texas A&M University.

As the first program of its kind in Texas, Aggie ACHIEVE is creating a new level of inclusion among the Texas A&M campus community and opening doors to more social, learning and employment opportunities for adults with disabilities.

Numerous opportunities exist to support Aggie ACHIEVE, ranging from operational funding and scholarships for participants to support for the faculty and graduate students who ensure the program’s success. Contact Jody Ford ’99 at jford@txamfoundation.com or (979) 847-8655 to discover the perfect fit for your gift, or give online at give.am/AggieACHIEVE.

Give Now

Revitalize the Allen Building

Since its founding in 1997, the Bush School of Government and Public Service has called the Robert H. and Judy Ley Allen Building home. Located adjacent to the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the Allen Building has housed every cohort of Bush School leaders from its inaugural class of 17 students to its current class of more than 790.

During that time, the Allen Building has remained structurally and aesthetically untouched and, until recently, the school only had access to portions of the first and second floors. In 2020, when the school acquired the entire second floor of the building, a renovation campaign was launched to update the space for the growing number of Bush School students, faculty, staff, institutes, centers and programs.

Renovations will include two new student learning and collaboration centers, a redesigned atrium and lobby, additional graduate student workspaces complete with technological updates, Bush 41 legacy recognition throughout and more. Every enhancement is focused on the Bush School’s ultimate goal of producing the world’s best public servants.

If you are interested in supporting the Allen Building renovation, contact Alexandra Rainey ’15 at arainey@txamfoundation.com or (979) 458-8035.

Learn More

Expand the Home of Business Leaders

As business education institutions around the world compete to attract top students, faculty and corporate partners, innovative facilities make all the difference in establishing a world-class educational experience. Mays Business School knows this well and has its sights set on expanding its current footprint to create the Business Education Complex. Located at the epicenter of the rapidly westward expansion of the campus, the complex will be designed to deliver lifelong learning to the diverse Mays community.

Plans include a striking grand atrium, a full café to encourage engagement, and ample work and study space that will promote connectivity, creativity and collaboration.

The Business Education Complex is currently scheduled to be completed by 2024. Mays Business School is seeking $37 million in private gifts to aid in the complex’s construction and further establish Texas A&M as a world leader in business education.

To support the construction of the Business Education Complex, contact Stephen Cisneros ’05 at scisneros@txamfoundation.com or (979) 862-3615. You can also give online at give.am/BusinessEducationComplex.

Give Now

Support Agricultural Pioneers

As the 1970 Nobel Prize laureate and one of the most highly-esteemed members of Texas A&M’s faculty, Dr. Norman Borlaug was acclaimed for his trailblazing work with high-yielding, disease-resistant varieties of grain, ushering in the Green Revolution and significantly reducing world hunger. He is often credited with saving more lives than anyone in history.

Now, through the creation of the Norman Borlaug Endowed Research Scholars Program (NBERS), Texas A&M’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences is developing the next generation of agricultural research leaders. Established in 2019 through a $1 million matching fund from Cactus Feeders, a beef and pork producer located in the South and Midwest, the NBERS program will attract the most talented students to agriculture, food and nutrition research by awarding generous scholarships to deserving applicants.

By bringing in top researchers and empowering them with the tools to create global change, NBERS will place Texas A&M at the forefront of preparing budding scientists to make crucial agricultural research breakthroughs.

To carry on Norman Borlaug’s legacy through an NBERS undergraduate scholarship (endowed at $50,000) or graduate fellowship (endowed at $125,000) contact Allyson Tjoelker ’02 at atjoelker@txamfoundation.com or (979) 458-7929. Matching funds are available.

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2020Thank You

During a year that challenged every member of every community, Aggies and friends of Texas A&M University were resolute in their commitment to supporting our students, faculty and staff. Your contributions will empower generations of Aggies to dare greatly in serving others across the state, nation and world. Thanks to your generosity, Aggieland will continue to uphold its values and stand as a proud beacon of leadership and camaraderie for all to see.