UT Foundation purchases new presidential residence with private funds

April 16, 2015 | News, UToday
By Jon Strunk

For several years, The University of Toledo Foundation has been working to identify a new property to engage UT stakeholders and replace the Levis House at 3883 Bancroft St.

“We have been working for some time to identify a new presidential residence better suited to donor cultivation and engagement as UT’s emphasis on private fundraising for student scholarships, faculty endowments and capital projects has continued to increase,” said Brenda Lee, president of the UT Foundation.

On Wednesday, the UT Foundation announced it had closed on a purchase of a home at 2646 Forestvale Road in Ottawa Hills that Foundation officials said would meet the strategic philanthropic needs of the University.

Emphasizing that all money in the transaction comes from private funds, Lee said the new home recently has been updated and offers an open floor plan for receptions that would have been cost-prohibitive to create through a renovation of the Levis House.

Matt Schroeder, chief operating officer for the Foundation, said that the UT Foundation had closed on the Forestvale home for $922,000. The Levis House was appraised earlier this year at $835,000, and the plan will be to prepare the house for sale in the coming months, he said.

By comparison, other peer universities such as Bowling Green State University, Youngstown State, Eastern Michigan University and Akron University have invested between $1.2 and $4.5 million in presidential residences.

“We’re very pleased to continue to have the presidential residence in the Village of Ottawa Hills. The village has always been a good neighbor for The University of Toledo, and we’re committed to being a good neighbor on Forestvale Road and to all Ottawa Hills residents,” Schroeder said.

Lee and Schroeder both said that while the timing was fortuitous given the presidential transition, the purchase of a new residence was a function of the ongoing search to identify the right home in the market for the University’s needs.

“The funding model of higher education is changing,” Lee said. “Universities are relying more and more on philanthropic support.

“The investment of private dollars into this home will create for UT a venue where support from donors will provide additional resources for UT students, faculty, patients and researchers that taxpayer funding cannot currently accommodate. And it is these investments that will help raise UT’s profile in the region and across the nation.”

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