Mission and Values

Driven to help the UW change lives.

Our Mission

WFAA exists to promote the welfare of and advance the objectives of the University of Wisconsin–Madison by encouraging the interest, engagement, and financial support of alumni, donors, and friends in the life of the University and with each other.

Our Values

Our values reflect shared commitments that WFAA employees make regarding how we conduct ourselves and our work.

  • We are serious about delivering results.
  • We work together as a team and with our campus partners.
  • We are committed to alumni, donors, volunteers, and others who count on us.
  • We are open-minded.
  • We create a positive and inclusive work environment.

What Is Advancement?

Higher education institutions are increasingly dependent on enduring support from alumni and friends. Advancement is the term that best defines the work that we do to provide that support to the UW. Our team works to foster good-will toward the university; encourage ongoing philanthropic support; and partner with business leaders, community members, and other external constituencies to build affinity for the university.

Diversity and Inclusion

Just as the university community benefits from differing viewpoints, perspectives, and experiences, inclusion and diversity are imperative for the success of our mission. WFAA values people and the differences that they bring to the organization, and creates an environment in which all staff members and constituents feel respected and have opportunities to thrive.

The range of programs and initiatives to which our work contributes spans every facet of life on campus and in the world. From working with scientists studying the most basic elements of life to talking with donors, members, volunteers, students, and others inspired to support life-changing programs or areas of the university, our work is fundamentally diverse. Attracting, developing, and retaining top talent gives WFAA access to new ideas, promotes better decision making and creates a working environment that promotes respect, collaboration, acceptance, and productivity among people from varying backgrounds. WFAA engages all donors, alumni, students, and friends of the university and encourages diversity, inclusivity, and participation by all of these groups in its activities.


At WFAA, we care about the environment, sustainability, and the future of our planet. We are committed to encouraging behaviors and business practices that help decrease our organization’s overall carbon footprint. In recent years, we have taken the following steps:
  • Committing to the purchase, use, and disposal of products and materials in a manner that will best conserve natural resources and minimize negative impacts on the environment.
  • Creating incentives to encourage employees to limit daily vehicle commutes through busing, biking and carpooling — as well as remote work options.
  • Investing in significant upgrades to make our mechanical systems more energy efficient, including boilers, water heaters, humidifiers, air conditioning chillers, lighting, and other facility components —leading to a nearly 50% reduction in gas and electric use in 2020.
  • Reconfiguring our temperature and lighting levels to reduce energy consumption.
We are committed to sustainability, and will continue to evaluate opportunities to reduce our environmental impact. WFAA has also supported campus in securing more than $60 million for important environmental initiatives, including:
  • Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies
  • John P. Holton Chair for Health and the Global Environment Fund
  • Arboretum/Friends of the Arboretum Endowment Funds
  • Wayland E. Noland Distinguished Chair in Limnology Fund
These generous gifts fit squarely within our mission to promote the welfare and advance the objectives of the University of Wisconsin–Madison.