Fitchburg State University Foundation, Inc.

Role

The primary activity of the Foundation is to raise and manage private gifts on behalf of the university. In addition, the Foundation serves as the main link between the campus and the external community, transmitting information between the two and playing a vital role as an advocate of the university in the community and of the community in the university. These functions are fulfilled by members and friends who:

  • Communicate the strengths and opportunities of Fitchburg State University to alumni and friends.
  • Assist the President of the university and its external affairs officers in advocating university interests with appropriate legislative and governmental agency members.
  • Represent the community on university advisory committees.
  • Host or attend events as a representative of the university when asked.
  • Identify and solicit potential donors and assist in cultivating major gifts on behalf of the university.
  • Serve as a liaison between the university and the community.

Structure

The Foundation is an independent non-profit corporation organized under Massachusetts law. The federal Internal Revenue Service classifies it as a 501(c)(3) corporation. Donations to the Foundation qualify for state and federal tax deductions.

Board of Directors:  The Foundation is governed by a Board of Directors, elected by the directors for a three-year term, which is renewable. University employees or university trustees may be Directors, but they cannot make up half or more of the Board. The President and president-elect of the Alumni Association Board, and a Trustee of the University selected by the Chairperson of the Board of Trustees, are directors.

Officers: The officers of the Board are the President, Treasurer, Assistant Treasurer and Clerk and such other officers as the Board of Directors may determine.

Committees: The Board of Directors has four standing subcommittees: Executive, Development, Finance and Audit, with the following job descriptions:

Executive: The Executive Committee is comprised of the officers of the board, as well as chairs of the subcommittees. The Executive Committee is responsible for membership recruitment, recommendations of property acquisitions and dispositions, committee oversight, executive decisions and policy.

Development: The Development Committee assists university staff in identifying and soliciting donors and overseeing Foundation fund-raising efforts. The Development Committee recommends policies to the Board on endowed gifts and reviews any potential restrictions on gifts, recommending acceptance or rejection of restricted gifts to the Board.

Finance: The Finance Committee oversees all aspects of financial matters related to the Foundation inclusive of investment and spending policies.

Audit: The Audit Committee reports directly to the full Board of the Fitchburg State University Foundation, Inc.

Meetings: The Foundation's annual meeting is held on the last Thursday in October and a regular meeting is held on the last Thursday in February. Other regular and special meetings are scheduled as needed.

Honorary Directors: Honorary directors are individuals who have served the Foundation as members or directors or who have  provided significant support to its giving efforts, but who do not want to play an active role in Foundation affairs.

Supporting Organization: The Fitchburg State University Supporting Organization was established in 2006 as a separate entity, directly reporting to the Foundation, regarding any and all property acquisitions and dispositions.

Funding and Procedures

Source of Funding: The Foundation is supported by annual fund gifts, capital campaign gifts, earnings on restricted and unrestricted endowments, and revenues from programs and grants.

Accounting Procedures: The Foundation follows the rules of the Financial Accounting Standards Board for reporting gifts (Rule 116) and for presenting aggregate financial data (Rule 117). The Foundation is audited annually by an independent auditing firm selected by the Board of Directors.

Fund Raising: The Foundation is certified by the university Board of Trustees to raise and manage private funds in the name of the university. It operates a comprehensive fund-raising program and seeks gifts for operating and capital funding and to provide "margin of excellence" support for deserving programs, with special attention to scholarships, visiting artists and lecturers, equipment and teaching grants and faculty research.

Fund-Raising Programs: The fund-raising programs of the Foundation are directed by the university Development staff and include:

Annual Fund programs: The fund-raising programs direct annual appeals by mail, telephone or in person to alumni, friends, parents, students, staff and special constituent groups. The Annual Fund includes the following gift clubs:      

  • Thompson Hall Society (gifts of $10,000 and higher)
  • President's Circle (gifts of $5,000-$9,999)
  • The 1894 Society (gifts of $1,000-$4,999)
  • The Maude A. Goodfellow Society (gifts of $500-$999)
  • The Sundial Society (gifts of $250-$499)
  • The Century Club (gifts of $100-$249)
  • Young Alumni Club for graduates of the last 10 years (gifts of $50-$99)

Planned Giving: (sometimes called Deferred Giving) programs, which emphasize long-term gifts made through wills, trusts and insurance and which usually involve one-on-one discussions between the donor and the Development staff to set terms and conditions that assist the donor with estate and tax planning, major gifts programs seek special one-time gifts of significant amounts, usually for restricted endowment purposes that relate to a specific philanthropic interest of the donor, corporate and foundation solicitation programs, including corporate matching-gift programs, which seek to maximize support for the university from the businesses and private foundations, Capital Campaigns are intensive, limited duration efforts to raise major gifts for endowment or capital purposes periodically conducted.

Policies

Scholarship Funds: Scholarships and similar restricted accounts will, until further notice, provide an annual percentage yield equal to five percent (or the amount previously set) of the average account balance during the Foundation's preceding fiscal year. The minimum amount to establish a restricted award will be $25,000. Donations made to an established fund will be accepted and the preceding percentage payable in future years will be determined per the forgoing without requiring further action by the Foundation.

Delegation of Gift Acceptance Authority: From time to time, donors make gifts for a specific purpose during a fiscal year. Such gifts may be accepted and the terms of the gift honored without formal budgeting approval by the Foundation or by the university Development Office, subject to the approval of the President. (Adopted: Feb 28,1995)

Banking and Checking: Sovereign Bank, Massachusetts, is the depository of this Corporation with authority to accept at any time for credit of this Corporation deposits by whomsoever made of funds in whatever form and in whatever manner endorsed.

The President of the Fitchburg State University Foundation, Inc is fully authorized and empowered to transfer, convert, endorse, sell, assign, set over and deliver any and all shares of stock, bonds, debentures, notes, subscription warrants, stock purchase warrants, evidences of indebtedness, or other securities now or hereafter standing in the name of or owned by this Corporation, and to make, execute and deliver, under the corporate seal of this Corporation or otherwise, any and all written instruments of assignment and transfer necessary or proper to effectuate the authority hereby conferred. (See resolutions adopted 11/21/94)

Investment Philosophy: The main investment goals of the Fitchburg State University Foundation are the preservation of capital and the generation of income. To meet these goals, the bank may invest the capital entrusted to it by the Fitchburg State Foundation in the following manner: up to 50% in equity instruments, and no limit on cash or debit instruments. The Foundation further determines that preferred stock is not considered to be equity in this portfolio." (Re-affirmed 7/1/2000)