University of Maine Foundation President/CEO Jeff Mills to be recognized with national award for foundation leadership

Jeff MillsThe President and CEO of the University of Maine Foundation is one of two leaders being honored with the national 2022 CASE Commonfund College and University Foundation Award.

Jeffery Mills, Ph.D., President and CEO of the University of Maine Foundation, will be recognized for his contributions at the 2022 CASE Conference for College and University Foundations in April. 

“This national award is a wonderful recognition for Jeff and his colleagues at the University of Maine Foundation, and for the entire UMaine community,” said University of Maine President Joan Ferrini-Mundy. “Investments in UMaine’s vision and values help us define tomorrow in Maine and beyond.”

College and University Foundations are nonprofit organizations that cultivate and manage private assets to support the missions of the colleges and universities with which they are affiliated. This prestigious award recognizes professionals who have made extraordinary contributions to the advancement, quality, and effectiveness of their foundations and the sector.

“The CASE Commonfund College and University Foundation Award is considered to be a pinnacle achievement recognizing individuals in our profession who have made valuable contributions through best practices, leadership and distinguished service. The University of Maine is very fortunate to have Jeff at the helm of their Foundation,” said Leonard Raley, chair of the award selection committee, and President and CEO of the University System of Maryland Foundation, Inc. 

Mills, who has more than 29 years in educational advancement, was appointed to the University of Maine Foundation in 2012 as the President and CEO after serving as the Vice President of University Advancement and President and CEO of the University of Maine Alumni Association from 2002–05. Highlights of his accomplishments at the University of Maine Foundation include the launch of a comprehensive giving campaign with a $200 million goal, ending the campaign with over $208 million raised. The campaign also increased fundraising to an all-time high average of $36 million and secured the largest capital campaign gift in university history. Additionally, Mills launched the faculty, staff and administration giving campaign, which raised more than $1.2 million this past year.

Most recently, through its ongoing collaboration with the Harold Alfond Foundation, the University of Maine System received a $240 million grant in support of academic, student welfare and athletic activities — at the time the eighth largest gift in the U.S. to a public institution of higher education, and the largest ever in New England. Mills will lead the private fundraising efforts to fulfill this historic gift.

Previously, Mills and his team at Monmouth University in New Jersey received a CASE award for most improved educational fundraising, among other CASE awards presented under his leadership.

In his letter of support, Robert Strong, Chairman of the University of Maine Foundation, wrote: “Under Jeff’s leadership every capital campaign during his tenure has exceeded its fundraising goal.” Strong also notes Mills’ leadership during the merger of the university’s Office of Advancement and the University of Maine Foundation, leading to greater alignment and greater philanthropic success. 

Sharon Beales, Vice President, Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the Northampton Community College Foundation, will be honored with the second award. Both Mills and Beales are active members of CASE and have led development programs that have received CASE Educational Fundraising Awards.

The Commonfund College and University Foundation Award is underwritten by the Commonfund Institute, the research and education arm of Commonfund, which provides investment management services to nonprofit organizations.

The University of Maine Foundation has offices in Orono and Falmouth.

Contact: Monique Hashey,