Annual Giving FAQs


Why do you solicit money every year?
We ask you to give every year for several reasons:
  • Your annual gifts continue to strengthen current and upcoming programs from year to year.
  • Each year the support from the State of Mississippi may differ and recent years have shown a decrease in funding, thus making private support even more crucial for us to continue adding new innovative programs and enhance existing opportunities.
  • Many times we are judged on the number of alumni and friends that believe in us enough to give a gift when applying for grants or when being ranked in national polls like US News and World Reports. The more people we have who make a gift of any size the better we look when being evaluated in these situations making it more likely for us to receive additional funding and higher rankings, which help to improve the University’s reputation.
What will my gift support?
You have the ability to designate your gift to the area in which you want to support, which means your gift can go to support anything from the Southern Miss Fund, which is used for the University’s most pressing needs; a specific college; a specific department; scholarships; the libraries…it all depends on where you choose for your gift to go.

Doesn’t the State of Mississippi provide funding to Southern Miss?
Currently, the state only provides approximately 20% of the actual cost of a Southern Miss education; therefore, private support is critical for filling in the remaining gap and keeping tuition costs affordable.

Is my gift tax deductible?
Yes, in most cases your gift is tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. We recommend you consult with your tax professional for more details on your specific case.

What is the time frame for your annual campaign?
The Annual Giving Campaign follows the University’s fiscal year from July 1 through June 30.

I received a letter that indicated I said I would make a gift, but I don’t want to at this time.
The student you spoke with may have made a mistake in recording the result of your conversation in his/her computer or he/she may have misunderstood what you stated. Either way, we truly apologize for any inconvenience this has caused you. Please let us know if you would like us to cancel the pledge by contacting Kelly Ellis, manager of annual giving, via telephone at 601.266.4878 or via e-mail at kelly.ellis@usm.eduIf you receive reminder mailings (asking you to send a gift) after you have already canceled the pledge, kindly disregard these.

Who may I contact for more information?
For more information on the Southern Miss Annual Fund, contact Kelly Ellis, manager of annual giving, via telephone at 601.266.4878 or via e-mail at