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Sunday, June 16, 2024
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UF’s financial ties, publicly disclosed partnerships with Israel, explained

The Alligator reviewed publicly available information on UF’s partnerships and investments to identify its financial ties with Israel

Amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, pro-Palestinian protestors across Florida and the nation are calling on universities to publicly disclose and divest from their financial partnerships with Israel. At UF, home to the largest population of undergraduate Jewish students in the country, protestors’ demands have gone unacknowledged by the university. 

After reviewing publicly available information on UF’s business partnerships, investment portfolio and contracts with the U.S. Department of Defense, The Alligator identified UF’s financial ties with Israel and organizations supplying military aid to the nation.

The UF Divest Coalition, an assembly of student-led and community pro-Palestinian organizations, began occupying the Plaza of the Americas in the heart of UF’s campus April 24 to demand the university make its financial partnerships with Israeli-affiliated defense companies transparent.


Police arrested nine protesters April 29, including one student facing a felony battery charge because police said he spit on an officer’s arm. UF President Ben Sasse said students arrested in the protests would be suspended and trespassed from campus for three years.

In a statement to The Alligator, UF Divest Coalition wrote it is no longer occupying the plaza but will continue to demand the university reallocate its Israeli-affiliated funds toward programs like the Regional Transit System and the Partnership for Reimagining Gainesville.

“Students at UF would prefer to use their ideas, creativity, and time to benefit our community’s health and well-being, not to fund weapons used to murder innocent civilians in Gaza,” the coalition wrote.

UF spokesperson Cynthia Roldan said UF administration does not plan to respond to “so-called ‘demands’ because we don’t pretend that protests are negotiations.” 

The Alligator’s review of UF’s publicly disclosed financial statements does not reflect contracts and partnerships that the university didn’t report. As a public university, UF is required to complete annual tax reports that disclose some details about its investment portfolio but is not required to disclose all financial information, such as what companies it is invested in.

University endowment and investment funds are more opaque, providing little public information on what markets and businesses the university invested in. 

Business partnerships and foreign contracts

UF reported receiving nearly $2 million from partnerships with Israeli-based companies in 2024. Universities that receive federal funding are required to report foreign gifts and contracts over $250,000 to the U.S. Department of Education under the Higher Education Act of 1965.

Over three-fourths of the total Israeli-based gifts and contracts are with a single company that was unidentified in the university’s report. UF’s contract with the company is $1.6 million and runs through 2025. UF Procurement Services did not return The Alligator’s request to identify the company the contract is with.

The remainder of UF’s Israeli-based partnerships were with Pulsenmore, a prenatal technology company, and Mediwound, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in tissue repair.

Among currently active foreign partnerships with UF, Israel is ranked third in total gifts and contracts after Australia and Singapore, who contribute $2.7 million and $2.1 million respectively. Compared to other schools in the State University System, UF received a majority of gifts and contracts at 58.7%.

The UF Divest Coalition also called upon the university to sever its ties with American defense companies RTX, Lockheed Martin, Kratos Defense and L3Harris, which the coalition said is “implicated in human rights violations, including the Gaza genocide” in an April 24 news release.

RTX, formerly known as Raytheon, is partnered with UF Innovate, which "moves research discoveries from the laboratory to the market." Raytheon also collaborates with UF in its "Integrated Product and Process Design (IPPD) two-semester course for UF engineering students" where students visit Raytheon's headquarters in Largo and get hands-on experience in "operational mission planning."

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Other companies tied to Israel's war efforts and UF include Lockheed Martin, who attend UF's career showcases; L3Harris and Kratos Defense, which sponsor UF's W.E. Rise Mentorship Program; and Nvidia, whose co-founder, Chris Malachowsky, is the namesake of UF’s new computer information and science building.

Investments and endowment funds

UF’s $2.3 billion endowment is the largest of any public or private university in the state. Its endowment is three times the size of Florida State University’s and is larger than the largest private university endowment in the state — University of Miami’s $1.4 billion endowment.

The university with the largest endowment in the country is Harvard University, which as of last summer was a reported $50.7 billion.

UF’s endowment is made up of thousands of funds pooled together and managed by the University of Florida Investment Corporation. In 2023, it contributed over $100 million to the university. 

The investment corporation is not required to publicly disclose its investment portfolio. It operates independently from the university as a direct support organization with its own board of directors and reports to the UF Board of Trustees. Since the portfolio is shielded from public view, it is unknown if the university has any Israeli-related investments.

The investment group is responsible for the nonprofit University of Florida Foundation, the primary recipient of money donated to UF. Global stocks make up 40% of the foundation’s primary fund, but the countries from which the stocks originate were not publicly disclosed.

Unlike a publicly traded mutual fund, which is required to file quarterly holding disclosures, there is no public disclosure of what these limited partnerships are invested in.

If UF has investments in Israel-affiliated companies related to its war effort in Gaza, it is likely those investments would be in publicly traded company shares or corporate bonds. The school’s investment group may be invested in Israeli firms through its private equity investment fund.

Military partnerships

Some protestors at other universities have called on their administrations to end their contracts with the military-industrial and other entities supporting Israel’s war effort in Gaza. 

As a public research university, UF receives funding awards from the U.S. Department of Defense. While some of these awards attract private military contractors, UF’s funding awards are primarily tied to medical research and development.

UF reported receiving $22 million from DoD spending in 2024, which is the most among Florida public universities. The spending, which includes contracts, grants and loans, represented 10.7% of the $211 million awarded to the university from the federal government that year.

Medical research made up the largest amount of the DoD spending at $9.45 million. Defense research was the fifth largest spending category at $1.4 million, or 6.4% of total DoD funding awarded to UF.

Contact Garrett Shanley and Diego Perdomo at gshanley@alligator.org and dperdomo@alligator.org. Follow them on X @garrettshanley and @diegoperdomoaq.

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Garrett Shanley

Garrett Shanley is a fourth-year journalism major and the Summer 2024 university editor for The Alligator. Outside of the newsroom, you can find him watching Wong Kar-Wai movies and talking to his house plants.


Diego Perdomo

Diego Perdomo is a senior journalism major and the Summer 2024 Digital Managing Editor. He previously worked as the data reporter, design editor and a graphic designer. Outside of his studies, he likes to read comic books, bike and wonder how life would be outside of a car-dependent society.


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