Bold Ideas Initiative

As university leaders, the Division of University Advancement is looking to you to help identify new, comprehensive and prominent opportunities that, with philanthropic funding, could help the University at Buffalo solidify its position as one of the top 25 public research universities in the nation.

Unlike other UB initiatives such as UB2020 Strategic Strengths, the 3E Fund or Communities of Excellence, UB’s Bold Ideas Initiative is intended to leverage philanthropic investment to entirely or perpetually (through endowment) fund transformational efforts.

Deans, vice presidents, and vice provosts are invited to submit ideas that engage the imagination and commitment of a broad-base of stakeholders; that draw on UB’s disciplines across all three campuses; that are future-focused and will positively impact the world in big, bold ways.

Bold Ideas Should:

  • Have outcomes that transform the university and the world
  • Make the university unique in the marketplace
  • Build upon existing strength(s) that elevate UB to a national or global standing
  • Have financial investment from UB (beyond time commitment of faculty/staff)
  • Advance UB’s Top 25 ambition
  • Have a visible and active champion

Bold Ideas Should Not:

  • Be defined solely by a capital project
  • Bundle together smaller ideas
  • Be possible without donor investment
  • Solely feature a naming opportunity
  • Lead to slow, incremental improvement

What does it mean to be bold?

How it works:

  1. Senior leadership from both academic and administrative units are invited to submit bold, interdisciplinary ideas that involve new levels of collaboration.
  2. The ideas don’t have to be new, but they are ones in which an investment of $25 million or more would enable them to move the university forward significantly.
  3. Ideas will be reviewed within a donor-interest framework, and when appropriate, translated into proposals for presentation to prospects.
Thank you for submitting your Bold Ideas!

The submission window has ended for the 2021 fiscal year.The next steps are: 

  1. Submitted proposals will be reviewed and shared with the President, Provost, and Vice President for University Advancement for further consideration and vetting relative to alignment with university goals and fundability.
  2. Bold Idea feasibility testing will begin in April and conclude in June 2021. 
  3. Final decisions on Bold Ideas are anticipated in summer 2021.


If you have questions about the process or the form, please reach out to either of the Boldly Buffalo campaign co-directors.

Jason Diffenderfer, Senior Associate Vice President for Advancement and Boldly Buffalo Campaign Co-Director

Kathleen Heckman, Associate Vice President for Advancement Administration and Boldly Buffalo Campaign Co-Director