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Saturday July 4th, 2015 3:04AM

Merger of NGCSU, GSC foundations finalized

By Staff
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DAHLONEGA - As of July 1, the University of North Georgia (UNG) will reach another milestone in the consolidation of North Georgia College and State University and Gainesville State College when its two philanthropic foundations merge. The result will be the University of North Georgia Foundation Inc. with combined assets of $52 million and a mission focused on fundraising.<br /> <br /> UNG was formed in January 2013 through the consolidation of North Georgia College & State University and Gainesville State College. UNG is the first of the University System of Georgia institutions that were consolidated in January 2013 to combine its philanthropic foundations.<br /> <br /> The final votes to form the new foundation were taken in May by trustees of both previous organizations, following a year-long process guided by the Foundation Consolidation Steering Committee. The committee, made up of five trustees from each foundation, met monthly to draft a mission and strategic initiatives, new bylaws and a transition plan. Trustees from both foundations were given the opportunity to provide feedback, then voted on finalized policies written by the committee.<br /> <br /> "Each foundation comprises impressive individuals who are committed to the success of our students and the future of the university, and I am grateful to them for their hard work during the past year to create a new, merged foundation," UNG President Bonita Jacobs said. "The sense of unity they have created will provide strong support for the new foundation."<br /> <br /> Dr. Andrew Leavitt, CEO of the UNG Foundation Inc. and UNG's vice president for university advancement, said having one foundation allows for greater efficiency and effectiveness in meeting its fundraising mission.<br /> <br /> "The future is very bright for this foundation and what we'll be able to accomplish through our mission that is now solely focused on raising money to support the students, faculty and staff of the University of North Georgia," Leavitt said. "I want to thank our trustees, alumni and donors for their support during this time of transition."<br /> <br /> In its first year, the new foundation will be chaired by Rich White, a Gainesville businessman and alumnus of the former Gainesville State College. Mary Helen McGruder of Cumming, an alumna of the former North Georgia College & State University, will serve as vice chairman of the foundation. Both White and McGruder also served on the UNG Consolidation Implementation Committee, which led the institution-wide consolidation process in 2012.<br /> <br /> "It has been a great experience working with the members of the two prior foundation boards to very thoughtfully develop the framework and operating structures for our new, united board. We are all extremely proud that our new structure and operating procedures were approved unanimously by members of both prior boards," White said. "We also want to thank President Jacobs for her support and for allowing us to formulate the most efficient plan to best meet the needs of the students and the institution."<br /> <br /> White, who is a past chairman of the UNG Foundation
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