OHSU goes to legislature for $200M to match Knight’s $500M

1/20/2014 update: Oregonian reporter Christian Gaston predicts the legislature will promise OHSU the $200m in the February session – will they add in something for UO? Nope, WOU’s Peter Courtney is still in charge. Video here.

1/16/2014: OHSU goes to legislature for $200M to match Knight’s $500M

Willamette Week has an interview with the OHSU researcher and administrators involved. (More here.) Probing questions about the potential benefits, Knight as a philanthropist, and the opportunity cost to other state causes. The fundraisers I’ve talked with emphasized how the matching requirement of Knight’s gift was going to stretch Oregon donors thin and harm UO’s campaign.

Meanwhile UO is still trying to find some magic way to apologize for Frohnmayer’s WRC disaster. This time we’re giving away free Uncle Phil bobble-head dolls to everyone who attends the USC game. Really. You can’t make this shit up:

Screen Shot 2014-01-16 at 12.05.47 PM

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17 Responses to OHSU goes to legislature for $200M to match Knight’s $500M

  1. honest Uncle Bernie says:

    alas, another narcissistic move by Uncle Phil. Give a half billion, demand that the rest of the state match in adoration. Self-adoration! Will suck all the philanthropic dollars out of Oregon for the next few years.

    If the guy had any class, he’d give a billion, say “I invite you to match this at OHSU or the philanthropy of your choice, including increased giving to the causes you already care about and give to. And as you display your generosity in this way, I look forward to leaving billions more in Oregon and other philanthropies that I care about.”

    There’s something off with this guy. Including his gifts to the Ducks like the “pigskin palace” — spoiling them — they can’t even beat the Stanford boys!”

  2. All Philled Up says:

    A group of “adults” somewhere on the UO campus sat in a room together and decided to do this. And the awful “Phil it up” is a desperate attempt to do what they haven’t done yet but what they promised would be a no brainer – fill Matt Knight Arena. He’ll, if Phil Knight bobble heads can’t do it, they should bulldoze the place.

    Days like this I’m not that proud to he associated with UO.

    • bobblehead says:

      Desperate attempt, indeed. Is a bobblehead give-away really going to entice someone to buy a ticket? Doubt it. Sounds kinda creepy, actually.

  3. second that ob the creepy factor.

  4. Sam Dotters-Katz, ASUO Presidento says:

    Leave it to y’all to find some way to criticize a $500 million dollar donation. The hundreds of millions of dollars he and other donors have given to the UO were the essential lifeline thrown to UO during the state’s prolonged divestment. I’m a student at the Knight Law School, who often studied at the Knight Library as an undergrad. I can easily attest to the general feel of the student body, which is extreme gratitude towards Phil Knight.

    As far as talking like you have authority on development/fundraising, that’s pretty funny. I’m sure your general habits of trashing the donors of this university would lead you to be an extremely successful fundraiser. You have talked about mandating athletics hand over their donors to for you to pitch ideas to. Now that would be entertaining.

    • uomatters says:

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts Sam. The sad truth is that I want an Uncle Phil bobblehead too, but can’t make the game. Any chance you’d pick up an extra for me?

      • QVC says:

        PS: UOM, perhaps the IAC or even better the new board should request that someone maintain the funds breakout as see in the foundation’s financials from 2011 and eariler.

    • QVC says:

      I actually may go to get a bobble head as well.

      But Sam, I do not think “Uncle Phil” and other boosters have given more to the UO in terms of academic operating funds for for Oregon resident students. A quick look at the foundations books http://www.uofoundation.org/

      Oh wait there is not much value there,it seems all the audited financials have been scrubbed of any trace of cash flowing to “athletics” back to 2011, and I have always wondered if the foundation could support the “Faculty” Appointment part of the coaches top off and that be consider in the faculty bucket, as well as paying off other Athletic department benefits, like handshake appointments and subsequent buyouts.

      OK so back in 2011 when they still reported the breakout: The boosters- gave about $6 Million to regular old students, $1.5 million to “faculty”, and $4 Million to ahem ‘instruction and research programs’ (probably at the sweat shop). That same year, one of the worst on Record for the anemic state support the state still kicked in a little over $68 Million, not including state and federal gift aid given directly to the students, and $100 Million or so in Capital appropriations, which is probably on the backs of future students.


      So when we tally up who really pays for the UO, it looks like the students pay the most at about $300 Million with the state coming in only second from from the last only beating out the philanthopist.

      • honest Uncle Bernie says:

        QVC — Sadly, you are right. An amazingly small share of the academic operating budget comes from private philanthropy. (It probably looks better when you add in contributions for academic buildings.)

        The lion’s share comes, as you say, from tuition, with a still very significant, if miserly contribution from the state.

        I don’t know if this is peculiar to UO, that would be an interesting topic for investigation.

    • All Philled Up says:

      Mr. ASUO President,

      By your argument the size of the donation is the only relevant criteria we can use to judge – nothing else matters.

      That’s a pretty limited viewpoint and makes me worry about the education you are receiving over in that Knight Law School.

      So what is the number at which we are all supposed to stop asking questions? $10 million? $50? $100? At what price should we sell our values?

      And c’mon – a bobblehead of a donor? Surely even you find that weird and crass?

      • uomatters says:

        Thanks to QVC and Uncle Bernie for your comments. I didn’t expect a bobblehead post to yield such good analyses.

        In regard to Knight’s OHSU challenge grant, Rondeau and List (2008) give results from a small stakes field experiment, and concludes the “challenge strategy”, which is used here by Knight is a solid one.

        Of course, if it is effective at raising money for OHSU, it will decrease donations to UO. That’s a well established result from a robust empirical literature. UO’s own Dennis Howard has very relevant work, linked to here: https://uomatters.com/2012/01/what-will-rose-bowl-win-cost-academics.html

        An estimate of the cross-elasticity between donations to OHSU and UO would have a very large standard error, but it’s difficult to imagine a theoretical model that would not constrain it to be strictly negative (and less than 1 in absolute value, obviously).

        • honest Uncle Bernie says:

          All seems very likely, uom. The only way I could see it helping UO would be if he made a concurrent challenge grant at UO. Wouldn’t it be something if it was to athletics!

          You can see a pattern he’s already established — the $800M endowment to UO that supposedly was contingent on an equal amount from the state.

          Of course, the $800M was supposed to be to supplant the annual state contribution — it was a very clever scheme, in my opinion. (But I can see how it aroused resentment from other campuses, given my instinctive reaction to the OHSU challenge.)

          The OHSU challenge IS different in that the matching challenge money would not be replacing anything — except probably donations to other Oregon philanthropies.

          This is true of the $200M that OHSU is trying to get the state to contribute from bonds. Those bonds will have to be paid back out of something — my understanding, which could be wrong, is that they’d be paid back out of the existing state budget. Meaning something else — higher ed student subsidies, perhaps? — would have to be cut.

    • Q for Sam DK says:

      Sam, did UO pay for your trip to the Alamo Bowl?

    • Bottomline says:

      Coming out of the law school, maybe you’d be worried more about the academics of the program rather than the pretty building, given UO’s recent placement rate, and strategic plan to give up on rankings.

  5. Hen says:

    I quote from Jim Warsaw’s biography on USC’s site. Jim’s father “David Warsaw, founded Sports Specialties Corporation, …… patented a miniature ceramic baseball player, whose head bounced on a small spring. Today this doll is known around the world as the “bobble-head doll.”
    They also inform us that Jim founded the Warsaw sports marketing center in the B school.

  6. Hen says:

    Good question

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