March 15, 2004

SIUC Public Policy Institute Reaches Milestone

by Matt Baughman

CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, which was established by former U.S. Sen. Paul Simon in 1997, has reached a fund-raising milestone, the Institute's Interim Director Mike Lawrence announced today.

We are pleased to announce that the Public Policy Institute reached an important fund-raising objective at the end of 2003 by attaining more than $7 million for its endowment through contributions, grants, pledges and planned gifts," Lawrence said. "With this plateau reached, Paul Simon better positioned the Institute for future fund-raising efforts as we continue to work towards the ultimate endowment goal of $10 million."

He added, "The funding also will go a long way toward assuring the Institute continues to fulfill the mission that Paul so clearly articulated."

SIUC Chancellor Walter V. Wendler said the endowment will allow Simon's ideals to live on. "Paul was a man of vision. Those who have contributed to the endowment and those who will contribute, understand private funding will let us continue to look at pressing issues such as world water resources, Social Security funding, and health-care costs. We sincerely thank those who have helped us reach the $7 million mark and look forward to coming back to you with another announcement in the future."

During his lifetime, Simon said repeatedly that he wanted the Institute to build a substantial endowment in order to assure its long-term future at the University. He said a firm endowment would also let the Institute take on controversial issues or projects that might otherwise be ignored.

SIUC's "Southern Alumni" magazine once quoted Simon as saying, "Endowment of the Institute will give us the autonomy to continue tackling the tough and sometimes controversial issues that the Institute must address. Financial independence will protect our initiatives for years to come."

"Simon knew the Institute was quickly approaching this important fund-raising milestone when he died late last year. He asked for daily updates right up until his death - and was always optimistic that the institute would reach the $7 million year-end target," Lawrence said. "His optimism, his hard work, and his personal contributions to the Public Policy Institute helped us hit that target."

In addition to tirelessly working to raise money from friends, alumni, corporations, foundations and others, Simon provided his own substantial financial support to the institute. He assured his contribution would be felt even in death. The Simon family said today that Paul's will provides for $100,000 for the Public Policy Institute's endowment, bringing his total contributions to nearly a quarter of a million dollars.

"We celebrate Paul's efforts at raising endowment funds for the Public Policy Institute and look forward to helping the Institute exceed its ultimate goal of building a $10 million endowment," said Paul's daughter, Sheila Simon, who attended the news conference with Patti Simon, Simon's widow.

Patti Simon said, "We are proud to announce that Paul's will provided a substantial gift to support the fund-raising efforts he so tirelessly worked on, and we are hopeful that his generosity will encourage others to give to good causes like the Institute."

Among the many major contributions to the Institute include a $1 million pledge from John White, a Chicago area businessman and former chairman of the Better Government Association.

As part of the University's ongoing fund-raising efforts that will take place later this decade, the Institute is committed to building its endowment until it surpasses Simon's original $10 million goal.