Frequently Asked Questions
Why is the Foundation separate from SWOSU?
- The Foundation was specifically organized to provide management, reporting, and stewardship services to donors resulting in greater efficiency of the Foundation and the University. The benefits of this arrangement include:
- Donors have latitude in designating the use of their gifts.
- Private funds held by the Foundation offer the University greater flexibility in the timing and nature of expenditures.
- Donors can be assured that every effort will be made to maintain confidentiality because the Foundation is a separate not-for-profit corporation.
- The Foundation manages millions of dollars in endowment funds, and the return on these investments contributes significantly to the private support available to SWOSU. Unlike appropriated dollars, gift funds can be invested in equities and other instruments for long-term growth. Generally these earn a significantly higher rate of return than appropriated dollars because state statutes limit how appropriated funds can be invested. The difference in earnings can be substantial.
Why does SWOSU need private gifts?
- Appropriations from the state of Oklahoma are declining as a percentage of SWOSU’s total operating budget. Because the University is committed to keeping tuition and fees at an affordable level, private gifts are vital to fill the gap.
Who governs the Foundation?
- The Southwestern Foundation Board of Trustees governs the Southwestern Foundation. Sixteen directors, each a leader in business, the professions, or civic affairs, serve on the Foundation Board and contribute their time, wisdom, and resources to SWOSU. They are volunteers and serve without compensation. They meet twice a year as a body and some attend committee meetings between regular full sessions. They contribute their considerable expertise. In addition, they contribute generously of their own resources.
What does the Foundation do with contributions?
- When you make a gift to the SWOSU Foundation to benefit the University, your gift is used as you request. Many gifts are designated for a specific program, project, college, campus, department, etc. These gifts are deposited into Foundation accounts and, in order to be used, must have the proper administrative approval and must be for purposes that meet the guidelines established for that account.
What are the investment policies of the Foundation?
- Endowment gifts are made with an expectation by the donor and the commitment by the Foundation. These gifts are placed in individual, named accounts. Endowments are invested through one of the Foundation's diverse fund managers. This diverse portfolio assists the Foundation in achieving great return on investment. Investment policies and objectives of these funds are consistent with the permanent nature of the endowment gifts, i.e., achieving an appropriate balance between security of principal, current income, and long-term growth. Investment policies are approved by a committee of Board Members and the full Foundation Board. The professional management of the Foundation and outside investment counsel follow with adopted policies and approved actions.
How is the Foundation accountable?
- At the SWOSU Foundation, we are committed to retaining both the public and the private trust. The Foundation openly discloses information about its policies, activities, financial statements, and other information to further understanding of its mission and operations in the Annual Report which is audited by Murrell, Hall, McIntosh & Co., PLLP.
Why should my gift be directed through the Foundation?
- Giving to the SWOSU Foundation instead of directly to SWOSU ensures all funds are used according to your specific requests and not mixed with state provided dollars. Private funds held by the SWOSU Foundation offer the university greater flexibility in the timing and nature of expenditures. The SWOSU Foundation manages millions of dollars in endowment funds, so the return on these investments contributes significantly to the private support available to SWOSU. 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 SWOSU students, faculty and staff.
How do I contact the SWOSU Foundation?
What is the difference between the Foundation and the Alumni Association?
- The SWOSU Foundation and the SWOSU Alumni Association work in tandem in several day-to-day capacities and on a number of interrelated projects annually. While both the SWOSU Foundation and the SWOSU 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 Southwestern 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 30,000 alumni living throughout the world. The mission of the SWOSU Alumni Association is to serve its members and alumni and to support and serve the needs of Southwestern 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.
What services does the Foundation provide to SWOSU?
- Designated by the SWOSU Foundation Trustees as the central fundraising agency for SWOSU, the Foundation conducts campaigns for University priorities and provides central services to support fundraising, endowment growth, administration, compliance, donor stewardship, and other areas. Our services include:
- Designing the overall strategy and process for coordinating and executing effective fundraising initiatives.
- Coordinating overall fundraising goals for SWOSU initiatives and for individual Foundation programs.
- Planning campaigns
- Conducting feasibility studies
- Raising gift funds through major, planned, annual, and special giving programs staff by Foundation staff members.
- Providing fundraising services for smaller academic units.
- Providing centralized services that leverage knowledge and intellectual capital and that promote efficient and effective SWOSU and Foundation fundraising and development support:
- Annual giving programs (mail, phone, solicitation, etc.)
- Expertise in planned giving, real estate, personal property, securities, and gifts-in-kind
- Development marketing
- Development publications, proposals, and communiques
- Development reports
- Events and meeting services
- Prospect management and coordination
- Gift processing and records
- Investment management and distribution of income
- Legal services
- Accounting services
- Accounts payable services for units utilizing their gift funds
- Gift processing and records
- Database management and access
- Identifying ways to leverage the efforts of the campuses and schools using Foundation expertise and University resources and programs to support the development and execution of their fundraising initiatives.
- Providing continuing education/training for SWOSU and Foundation staff on fundraising and relationship building.
- Continuing to work with partners to assist in lifetime involvement initiatives.
- Participating in development officer recruitment and in development officer and program evaluation.