Editor's Note: It has come to the attention of the editor that some of this information is misleading and non-factual. Reader beware.
The purpose of the Foundation is to create, maintain and administer assets for the benefit of Western New Mexico University a state educational institution, located in Silver City, New Mexico
For years the WNMU Foundation has been an important source of scholarship money for students of Western. However, it now appears that the focus has shifted from providing scholarships for students to employment opportunities for selected people and funding the Presidential Discretionary Fund.
The Presidential Discretionary Fund was started in the 2011-12 year with the coming of the new administration. The Executive Director of the Foundation refuses to make public what the expenditures from the Fund are used for.
Here is a short history of expenditures of the Foundation:
2010-11 Scholarships $222,140, no Discretionary Fund
2011-12 Scholarships $204,278, Discretionary Fund $29,466
2012-13 Scholarships $112,417, Discretionary Fund $50,137
2013-14 Scholarships $98,937, Discretionary Fund $50,175
2014-15 Scholarships $135,913, Discretionary Fund $52,542
2015-16 Scholarships $120,332, Discretionary Fund $52,725
The Foundation has three employees, their combined salaries and benefits are in excess of $160,000. A great deal more than the amount the Foundation gives out in scholarships.
The following statement was in all the audit reports up to 2014-15:
“Per written agreement between the Foundation and the University the management of the Foundation is autonomous from the management of the University”.
This was removed starting in 2014-15 because President Shepard made the following statements in the Dec 10, 2015 Regents meeting:
“Foundation Board adjusted its bylaws to have the Executive Director position report to the President”.
The Foundation Board now appears to be just a figure head to satisfy legal requirements. The Foundation is really controlled by the WNMU President.
If the Foundation wants to be supported by public donations, it should be transparent with its expenditures. No one wants their donation to end up in someone’s wine glass.