Oklahoma State University Foundation Frequently Asked Questions

Making a Gift

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How the Foundation and University work together

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Foundation Operations

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Foundation Finances

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Making a Gift  

Are there unique advantages of giving to Oklahoma State University?

Donors find many advantages in working with the OSU Foundation to support higher education at OSU, including:

  • Uniting donor and university passions and priorities to achieve excellence, giving you the satisfaction of knowing that you influence the future by improving higher education and university research.
  • Responding promptly with a tax-deductible acknowledgement of your gift.
  • Helping unite your passion with OSU's priorities to "give back" to the institution that helped you down the road to success.
  • Providing up-to-date financial information to donors and information about their gift's impact.
  • Offering the opportunity to participate in donor recognition clubs such as the President's Club and Heritage Society.

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How can I afford to help the OSU Foundation?

The size of the gift you make is entirely up to you. Donations of all sizes are vital and gratefully accepted. Every dollar the university receives has the potential for exponential growth, since it helps OSU improve its most valuable resources — instruction, research, and extension — for the benefit statewide communities. 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.

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Will my company match my gift to the OSU 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 OSU Foundation. Please visit your human resources office to learn more about matching-gift donations or contact the OSU Foundation for more information about matching gift companies and see if your gift qualifies. To view a complete list of corporations participating in a matching-gift program, click here.

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What is an endowment?

Donors may establish an endowment fund to ensure a gift's long-lasting impact for OSU, since only the income earned from investments may be disbursed. Since an endowment's principal is never spent, your gift continues in perpetuity. Oklahoma State University Foundation's endowment funds are professionally invested and managed by the Foundation's Finance and Investment Committee. Each spring, the Committee meets to review the endowment management results and policies to determine the amount of money to be disbursed to each of the endowed academic and athletic scholarships and programs maintained by the OSU Foundation. Please visit the Endowments page for more information about gift opportunities.

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Can I give to my favorite 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 OSU 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 OSU's greatest needs at a university level and for each college or department.

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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. Another great way to improve campus facilities is to make a contribution to a department or college for equipment or supplies needed in that discipline, whether it is lab or instructional equipment.

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Can I make a pledge of support?

Yes; gift pledges to Oklahoma State University can be paid in monthly, quarterly or even annual installments and involve an initial payment. You can pledge online or contact our gift processing department to setup a pledge payment.

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What if I want my gift to be anonymous?

The OSU Foundation enjoys the opportunity to publicize donor gifts in an effort to recognize donor generosity. This good news lets others know about the increasing importance of supporting higher education at state universities. Publicity could include press releases, articles in state newspapers, feature stories in university or Foundation publications or recognition in Foundation brochures. However, the OSU Foundation respects your desire for anonymity to the full extent allowed under Oklahoma's Public Records Act. At the time of your donation, please indicate that you do not wish your name to appear in any form of publicity.

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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. The OSU Foundation staff is happy to carry out your wishes. Read more about honoring a loved one.

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What is the difference between restricted and unrestricted gifts?

Unrestricted gifts provide a funding source for OSU 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.

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How should I make out my check?

Gifts to Oklahoma State University may be made through the Oklahoma State University Foundation, the 501(c)(3) non-profit, public-benefit corporation, that raises and manages private support for Oklahoma State University. Checks should be made out to the "Oklahoma State University Foundation" and indicate the fund name, department or purpose for which they're intended in the memo section. You can mail these to PO Box 1749, Stillwater, OK 74076-1749.

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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 aren't what they claim to be, and worried that their personal and financial information might fall into the wrong hands. That's why the OSU 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.

How can I tell if the page I'm on is SSL Certificate Protected?

An "https://" prefix in the URL and a key or padlock icon in the browser's status bar indicate that a website is secure.

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Are all gifts tax-deductible?

Gifts to the Oklahoma State University Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization, are fully tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. Please consult your tax attorney or financial advisor to determine if your gift is tax-deductible.

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How do I get tax credit for my charitable deduction?

As soon as the OSU Foundation receives your gift, we place it in the designated fund. At the same time, the gift processing staff generates a gift receipt mailed to you for tax preparations generally within the same week. If you do not receive a formal acknowledgement within three weeks, please contact the gift processing office at 1-800-622-4678. Please consult your tax attorney or financial advisor to determine instructions and proper tax credits available for your gift.

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Can I receive a tax deduction for equipment or supplies I give to the university?

Yes; if you donate equipment and/or supplies, which are referred to as gifts-in-kind, you will receive a contribution receipt for items given and recognition of value for gifts that have been properly documented. Donors must submit documentation through a receipt, invoice or other appraisal instrument at the time the gift-in-kind occurs in order to establish a value for the donated items.

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Is there someone with whom I can discuss my interest in giving to the OSU Foundation?

The staff of the Oklahoma State University Foundation is knowledgeable, discreet and happy to assist you in any way possible. In addition, many OSU colleges, schools and departments have development officers who work closely with donors to unite donors and university passions and priorities to achieve excellence. Please contact a development officer in your area of interest for more information about giving opportunities, or call the OSU Foundation's main office at 800.622.4678.

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How the Foundation and University work together

Why is the Foundation separate from the university?

The OSU Foundation is specifically organized to provide management, reporting and stewardship services that donors require. Central management of these services results in greater efficiency. Donors receive many benefits from this separate organization, including:

  • More latitude in designating the use of their gifts than would be possible if the funds were given directly to the university and commingled with public funds.
  • Assurance that every effort will be made to maintain donor confidentiality, since the Foundation is a separate not-for-profit corporation and not subject to open records laws.

The OSU Board of Regents formalized their endorsement that all private funds intended for the support of OSU be directed to the OSU Foundation by adopting a resolution to that effect.

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If Oklahoma State University is a public institution, why does it need private financial support?

Like most other "state universities" today, Oklahoma State University receives a small percent of its annual budget directly from the state. Since Oklahoma State University is state-assisted, not state supported, the remainder of its operating revenues comes from other sources such as student fees, federal and state grants and the generosity of OSU donors. State dollars currently provide slightly less than half of OSU's funding needs. This percentage is shrinking as higher education continues to compete with many other demands on state revenue. With continued tuition increases over the last decade, OSU must be cautious about additional tuition increases that might deny deserving students the chance to receive an OSU education. Since state support is declining relative to the university's total operating budget and limited increases can be expected in tuition, private gifts are becoming increasingly important to Oklahoma State University.

Donors who recognize this increasing need provide resources for scholarships, fellowships and endowed faculty positions that help Oklahoma State University attract and retain the brightest students and the best professors in their field of study. Private donors are significant partners in advancing new programs, supporting important research and building world-class academic facilities. There are no other ready sources of support than OSU donors who join us in uniting donor and university passions and priorities to achieve excellence.

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What is the difference between the OSU Foundation & OSU Alumni Association?

The OSU Foundation and the OSU Alumni Association work in tandem in several day-to-day capacities and on a number of interrelated projects annually. While both the OSU Foundation and the OSU Alumni Association operate as 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organizations and exist to serve the university, their missions, goals and operations are distinctly different.

The Oklahoma State University Alumni Association is a self-governed association incorporated under the laws of the State of Oklahoma. The Alumni Association represents more than 190,000 alumni living throughout the world and alumni chapters across the United States and four international chapters. The mission of the OSU Alumni Association is to serve its members and alumni and to support and serve the needs of Oklahoma State University, its students, faculty, staff, and friends.

The Foundation exists to be the fundraising arm of the university, and is specifically organized to provide management, reporting and stewardship services that donors require. Our mission is to unite donor and university passions and priorities to achieve excellence. While the Foundation interacts primarily with alumni, its audience is expanded to include a variety of other supporters including corporations, foundations, students, parents and many other friends of the university.

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Why should I give to the OSU Foundation instead of directly to OSU?

Giving to the OSU Foundation instead of directly to OSU ensures all funds are used according to your specific requests and not mixed with state provided dollars. Private funds held by the OSU Foundation offer the university greater flexibility in the timing and nature of expenditures. The OSU Foundation manages millions of dollars in endowment funds, so the return on these investments contributes significantly to the private support available to OSU. Unlike appropriated dollars, gift funds can be invested in equities and other instruments for long-term growth. These generally earn a significantly higher rate of return than appropriated dollars since state statutes limit how appropriated funds can be invested. The difference in earnings can be substantial, allowing donors to provide greater support for OSU students, faculty and staff.

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Foundation Operations  

What is the OSU Foundation?

The OSU Foundation is the private fundraising organization for Oklahoma State University, as designated by the OSU Board of Regents. Its mission is to unite donor and university passions and priorities to achieve excellence. The OSU Foundation exists solely for the benefit of OSU.

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Is the OSU Foundation a public or private organization?

The OSU Foundation is a private, non-profit organization as determined by IRS 501 (c)(3) documentation. It is separate from Oklahoma State University and it not supported by state funds. Since the OSU Foundation is a private corporation, it is uniquely qualified to provide personalized services tailored to each donor's individual needs and concerns.

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Who determines the OSU Foundation's fundraising priorities?

Oklahoma State University sets the OSU Foundation's annual fundraising priorities.

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Who governs the OSU Foundation?

The President and CEO of the OSU Foundation directs the organization's operation under policies established by a 27-member Board of Trustees. Chosen for their professional expertise and support of the OSU, the Trustees occupy a fiduciary relationship with the corporation. The Trustees are elected for four-year terms and serve without compensation. They are elected among members of the Foundation's Board of Governors, a group of alumni and friends who provide significant financial support and volunteer services on behalf of the university and Foundation. Governors are elected for six-year terms with no limit to the number of members who may serve at one time. The OSU President participates in meetings of the Board of Trustees, while other OSU administrators serve in advisory capacities for various trustee committees.

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How is the Foundation accountable to donors?

The Foundation recognizes its responsibility to maintain both public confidence and private trust. Information about its policies, activities, financial statements and other information that would provide a further understanding of its mission and operations are available for review. The OSU Foundation honors its obligation to maintain donor confidentiality and to pursue accepted business practices with regard to human resources, legal, real estate, financial and other matters. In addition to the external oversight provided by the Board of Trustees, the Foundation meets all regulatory requirements at federal, state and local levels, and has taken initiative in many areas to exceed the requirements of regulatory agencies in order to provide better information and service to Oklahoma State University and its donors. As part of the Foundation's reporting responsibility, it also provides the following documents for donor and public review:

  • An annual financial audit conducted by a national accounting firm. The audit is reviewed with the audit and budget committee of the Board of Trustees and presented to the full Board of Governors
  • An annual report of giving and Foundation activities
  • Written operational policies
  • Investment policies
  • IRS tax form 990
  • IRS 501 (c)(3)

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When is the Foundation's fiscal year?

The Foundation's fiscal year begins July 1 and ends June 30. All private gifts designated to benefit Oklahoma State University are managed according to this fiscal year.

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Does the OSU Foundation make grants?

No; since the OSU Foundation exists solely to support Oklahoma State University, the Foundation does not grant funding requests to outside organizations. Official OSU student organizations seeking funding for an academic or extracurricular expense may contact the OSU Foundation or development officer for their college for advice about fundraising opportunities.

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Why am I receiving calls from the OSU Foundation?

The OSU Cowboy Callers serve as the Foundation's public face and are often the only contact potential donors have with the university. Student callers work year-round to seek funds that support OSU's greatest needs and academic programs. Positive responses from donors encourage and motivate the student callers to continue serving Oklahoma State. Cowboy Callers may assist you with initial gift information or refer you to the appropriate development officer for more detailed information. For a detailed calendar of the calling schedule, please refer to the Cowboy Callers page.

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What kind of information is available to the public and media?

In an effort to provide accurate and truthful information about the OSU Foundation, our staff provides numerous publications and printed materials to interested parties. Donors, alumni, media representatives and the general public may contact the OSU Foundation's marketing department to obtain copies of the following publications. Additional information may be available upon request.

  • Annual Report
  • Endowment Report
  • STATE Magazine
  • Women for OSU newsletter
  • Doel Reed Center for the Arts newsletter
  • OSU Museum of Art newsletter
  • Scholarship Brochures
  • Planned Giving Documents and Heritage Magazine
  • Current and past news releases
  • Miscellaneous development publications for OSU colleges or departments, as available

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How can I obtain additional information?

The OSU Foundation is happy to provide additional information upon request. Please contact the OSU Foundation at 800.622.4678 or a representative in your area of interest for information requests.

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Foundation Finances

What does the Foundation do with contributions?

Gifts made to the OSU Foundation are used as the donor directs. Typically, about 97 percent of all gifts are restricted for a specific program, project, college, campus, department, etc. Only about three percent are unrestricted donations that may be used for any appropriate OSU need. A gift is restricted when the donor indicates on a check, reply card or other correspondence a specific purpose for the gift. Restricted gifts are deposited into one of over 2,000 Foundation accounts, and the designation of a gift is confirmed on the donor receipt. Expenditures of these gift funds must have proper administrative approval and be used for purposes that meet the guidelines established for that account.

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What are the investment policies of the Foundation?

Since only a portion of the investment return may be spent, endowed gifts represent a donor's desire to provide continual income for OSU. Endowed gifts are placed in individual, named accounts. The gifts are invested through the Foundation's Pooled Investment Fund. Investment policies and objectives of this fund are consistent with the permanent nature of endowment gifts, such as achieving an appropriate balance between security of principal, current income and long-term growth. Investment policies are approved by the Board of Trustees, based on recommendations developed by a committee of the board, the professional management of the Foundation and, when appropriate, outside investment counsel.

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Doesn't the Foundation already have substantial funding? Why are new gifts needed?

As higher education costs increase, so does the OSU Foundation's need to support those rising costs. The OSU Foundation has many endowments that earn income, thus supporting OSU students, academics, athletics and programs in perpetuity. However, many of those endowments are already designated to a particular fund and do not provide for new programs, facilities, scholarships, etc. New gifts allow OSU to remain competitive as a higher education institution, attract top faculty and students, and provide the most current resources possible. Annual and unrestricted gifts are extremely vital to OSU's future success, since they provide for the university's greatest needs. For more information about how you can help support OSU's greatest needs, please contact the OSU Foundation.

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OKLAHOMA STATE UNIVERSITY FOUNDATION
400 South Monroe / P.O. Box 1749 / Stillwater, OK 74076-1749
Ph. 800.622.4678 / Fax 405.385.5102 / info@OSUgiving.com
© 2013