What is The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation?
The Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation which serves as a fiduciary of all private funds donated to Southern Miss. It is administered by a volunteer Board of Directors.
How are private support gifts used by the University?
All gifts are applied to the support of academic excellence at Southern Miss. Gifts may be used to set up new scholarships or add to an existing one, build or renovate campus facilities, endow chairs or professorships, for faculty development and research and other special projects.
What is the relationship between Southern Miss and the USM Foundation?
The Foundation is a non-profit entity with a volunteer Board of Directors that works with The University of Southern Mississippi to serve the University's mission by raising private funds.
Is an annual report published by the USM Foundation?
Yes, the USM Foundation Annual Report includes a list of major donors and financial information about the Foundation. To request a copy, please call 601.266.5210 or 1.888.GIVEUSM or download a copy here
What is an endowment?
An endowment is an amount of money given to the University with a stipulation that the funds are to be retained and invested to generate annual earnings. A portion of the annual earnings is used to award student scholarships, provide faculty development or support programs at Southern Miss as established by our donors.
Are there any other fees involved?
Depending on the fund agreement or the state of the endowment, the Foundation charges up to a 2% annual fee to offset our operating expenses. Fees are not applied to underwater endowments.
What is an “underwater” endowment?
This is an endowment which, through declining market performance, has used all accumulated earnings and has eroded so that the fund’s net asset value is less than the original gift value, or corpus.
How will spending occur if an endowment is “underwater”?
Spending will not occur in “underwater” endowments. A donor may make a current gift to support program or scholarship spending if an endowment fund is under water.
What is the Southern Miss Annual Fund?
The Southern Miss Annual Fund is the annual giving program for all alumni and friends who support academic programs at The University of Southern Mississippi. The Annual Fund is managed by the Foundation.
Can I make a pledge of support?
Yes; gift pledges to Southern Miss can be paid in monthly, quarterly or even annual installments. Please contact the USM Foundation to set up a pledge schedule.
Can I make a gift in honor or memory of someone?
Absolutely. Many donors contribute funds to honor a loved one or special individual. If you would like to make your gift in honor or memory of another person — or if you wish to give in another's name – just let us know the details. If a gift is made in memory of someone who has passed away, the Foundation will notify their family of any gifts made in tribute. If a gift is made in honor of someone’s life or career, they will be notified of any gifts unless the donor requests anonymity.
Can my gift be designated to my favorite college, department or program?
Absolutely! The designation of your gift rests entirely in your hands. If you know the name of the department or program, simply indicate it in the memo space on your check or in the comments section of the online giving page. The USM Foundation gift processing staff will ensure your contribution reaches the proper area. If you need guidance in designating a gift, our staff and development officers are happy to provide information about Southern Miss’ greatest needs at a university level and for each college or department.
Can I make a gift for buildings or facilities?
Many buildings and facilities, such as labs, libraries and lecture halls on campus are created from private donations. Our staff or the development officer for a particular area can direct you toward any current building or maintenance projects that need additional support.
How do I make a gift to honor my favorite professor?
Many Southern Miss supporters make gifts that honor a mentor, parent, or someone else. Contact the Foundation and let us help you designate your gift to go to someone special.
Can I designate my gift to the Gulf Coast Campus?
Yes, or to any other campus under the administration of The University of Southern Mississippi.
To whom should checks be made payable and to what office should gifts be directed?
Checks should be made payable to The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation and mailed to 118 College Dr. Box 5210 , Hattiesburg , MS 39406-0001.
My gift of $10, $50 or $100 would be a drop in the bucket. Will it really make a difference?
Every gift, regardless of the amount, makes a difference. Your gift can accomplish so much more than you think it can. Think of it this way, if 80,000 Southern Miss alumni gave a gift of $100 each, it would total $8,000,000. Imagine how many students we would help!
I don't want anyone to know that I have made a contribution. Is it possible to remain anonymous?
Yes, we are ethically bound to respect your wishes and we will not make your contribution known to the public if requested.
I'm not rich-far from it. Isn't it the big gifts that really matter?
Large gifts are absolutely essential to Southern Miss but so are more modest ones. Donations of all sizes are vital and gratefully accepted. Every dollar the University receives has the potential for exponential growth. Some donors find they can achieve their charitable goals through the Foundation’s many planned giving avenues, such as life insurance, property, real estate and securities, that don't require a large sum of cash-on-hand. Pledges may also help achieve your goals as a donor. Bear in mind that you may be able to double or even triple your gift by taking advantage of your employer's matching gift for higher education program.
What if I'm a member of the Southern Miss faculty or staff?
Faculty and staff may make charitable contributions to any fund at The Foundation through payroll deduction. A payroll deduction is very easy to initiate. The faculty or staff member decides how much he/she wants to give each month and for how many months. The amount is automatically deducted by the payroll department at Southern Miss. Please contact your college development officer for assistance.
When I was a student, I took out college loans and worked in order to be able to afford to attend Southern Miss. Why can't today's students do the same thing?
Many do. In fact, if it's been a while since you graduated, you'd be amazed at the debt load some students carry when they graduate from Southern Miss. Tuition only covers part of the cost of an education and Southern Miss is committed to attracting the best students from all over the U.S. and beyond, regardless of their ability to pay. When you were a student, the gifts of many earlier alumni and friends of the University helped underwrite the total cost of your education. Now, your gifts can help Southern Miss attract top students who might otherwise receive an offer too good to turn down from one of our competitors!
Why does Southern Miss, a state university, need private support?
Southern Miss is a state-assisted, not tax-supported institution. State allocations meet only a portion of the budget needs. Over the years, that number has fallen to around 20% and it is expected to decrease even further. That is why private donations to the University are so important.
Are there non-monetary ways I can support the University?
Absolutely! Whether it's recommending a student to Southern Miss, setting up a summer internship at the company where you work, or volunteering your services for the Alumni Association Chapter near you, Southern Miss appreciates your support. There are hundreds of ways to get involved, and some of them take just a few minutes of your time.
What is the difference between restricted and unrestricted gifts?
Unrestricted gifts provide a funding source for Southern Miss that is not limited to specific program, college or department. These gifts are used where needed most throughout the institution, including resources to recruit top faculty, create scholarship programs and internship opportunities and enhance the overall academic life of the campus. On the other hand, restricted gifts are earmarked for specific purposes chosen by the donor, such as an endowed scholarship or professorship, program or building. Although both unrestricted and restricted gifts are welcome, unrestricted gifts are of critical importance because they allow the University to provide funding in the areas of greatest need to meet unexpected challenges, take advantage of unique opportunities and meet the many day-to-day challenges of current higher education.
Where does my gift have the most impact?
Your own interests should be your guide but Southern Miss always has a great need for unrestricted gifts to colleges or programs, giving the University flexibility in applying monies where they are needed most.
What if someone does not wish to be solicited by the University?
If someone does not wish to be solicited, the person should call, write or e-mail The Foundation and request that the university code the person's record for “No Solicitation.”
Is my gift to Southern Miss tax deductible?
Gifts in excess of goods or services received are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law. For how much you can deduct, consult your tax adviser and the IRS web site.
Will my company match my gift to the USM Foundation?
Many companies offer employees — and sometimes spouses and retirees — a matching-gift benefit that doubles or triples their donations to higher education. Companies have various methods by which you can submit your matching-gift request: online forms, automated phone systems or paper forms that you submit to the USM Foundation. Please visit your human resources office to learn more about matching-gift donations or contact the USM Foundation for more information about matching gift companies and see if your gift qualifies.
Do matching gifts count toward donor recognition?
Yes. Matching gifts count toward recognition. For example, a donor who gives $5,000, and files a one-to-one company match claim within the same fiscal year, is recognized for a gift of $10,000 for that fiscal year.
I’m uncomfortable giving online. Is it really safe?
We know a majority of our visitors and donors have reservations about entering their credit card information on our site. They are wary of websites and online businesses that are not what they claim to be, and worried that their personal and financial information might fall into the wrong hands. That is why the USM Foundation uses a Turbo SSL Certificate to protect our online donation page.
What is an SSL certificate?
An SSL certificate is a digital certificate that authenticates the identity of a website and encrypts information that is sent to the server using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) technology. A certificate serves as an electronic "passport" that establishes an online entity’s credentials when doing business on the Web. When an Internet user attempts to send confidential information to a Web server, the user’s browser accesses the server’s digital certificate and establishes a secure connection.
Is there someone with whom I can discuss my interest in giving to the USM Foundation?
The staff of the USM Foundation is knowledgeable, discreet and happy to assist you in any way possible. In addition, our colleges have development officers who work closely with donors to unite donors and University passions and priorities to achieve excellence. For more information about giving opportunities, call the USM Foundation’s main office at 601.266.5210 or 1.888.GIVE.USM.