EMU Foundation FAQ

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As an EMU or EMU Foundation staff member, how do I set up a payroll deduction?

EMU offers a convenient payroll deduction option for one-time and recurring gifts. When giving online, you'll be asked to make this designation on the "payment information" tab.

Who decides how gifted money is spent?

Almost all gifts received by the EMU Foundation are designated to a particular fund(s) by the donor(s). The EMU Foundation has over 2,000 funds spanning all colleges, offices, and areas of campus to which donors may give. In limited cases, donors may elect to make undesignated gifts. These gifts are applied to a predetermined area of greatest need.

How are students awarded scholarships? 

Departments on campus and/or the Office of Financial Aid follow a predetermined application and selection process each year to select students who best qualify for the scholarships designated to their department. 

Where do gifts made to the general EMU Fund go?

Gifts to the EMU Fund have historically been classified as unrestricted gifts with usage determined by EMU Foundation leadership on an annual basis. Spending decisions related to the FY20 allocation of the EMU Fund are as follows:

  • A portion of the EMU Fund balance was distributed to the Student Emergency Fund, to assist with the immediate needs of our students during and immediately following the COVID-19 crisis.
  • A portion of the EMU Fund balance was distributed to Swoop's Pantry (an amount equivalent to the annual cost to supply necessary food or personal care item/s).
  • The remaining EMU Fund balance may be used to address areas of greatest need in EMU Foundation operations.

How much of each gift is allocated to the EMU Foundation for operating expenses?

The EMU Foundation does not take a portion of any gift for operations; 100% of each gift is used for the donor’s designated purpose. Operating revenue for the EMU Foundation primarily consists of the following components: funding from the university, 2.0 percent of the twelve quarter average market value of the endowment, funding from an endowment specifically established to support the Foundation’s operations, and short term interest income.

How are EMU Foundation Board of Trustees members selected?

EMU Foundation trustees are recommended by Board members, advancement staff, and other partners and colleagues. The EMU Foundation Governance Committee discusses membership with prospective members and determines whether they are recommended for membership. 

What is the EMU Foundation’s tax status?

The EMU Foundation is a private nonprofit corporation governed by the laws of the state of Michigan. It is a tax-exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. The EMU Foundation holds a Charitable Solicitation License from the State Attorney General's office.

The EMU Foundation complies with all laws that relate to the operation of a private, nonprofit corporation and it is audited annually by Plante & Moran, PLLC. Financial information is available upon request.

What is an endowment?

Gifts to EMU's endowment are an investment in the University's future. Endowed funds provide a consistent source of income to EMU in perpetuity and can support students, programs or faculty in a college or department. Gifts to an endowment are pooled to maximize the investment potential. Each year, a percentage of the market value is awarded and the balance of the earnings is returned to the endowment principal.

Ultimately, the endowment acts like a savings account. The return, or income earned, on the investment of an endowed fund will produce a permanent source of income for the University. By giving to an endowment, you will leave a legacy that will support students for generations to come.

Named endowments may be established with gifts of $10,000 or more. If you are interested in learning more about endowments, please contact us at [email protected]

Can I name my fund?

Donors may establish named scholarships or other support funds by working with a member of our development team. The name and use of individual funds may be determined by the donor and EMU Foundation staff can provide examples and recommendations as needed. To learn more about named funds, please contact us at [email protected].

What is the size of the EMU Foundation Endowment?

As of June 30, 2019, the EMU Foundation’s endowment was $78,574,404.

What is an "expendable" fund? How does it work? 

Expendable funds may be used by their assigned department at any time during the year; awards of any size (up to the current fund balance) may be made to recipients who best meet the award criteria. Unlike endowed funds, expendable funds do not earn investment income and will not provide a consistent source of income in perpetuity. Instead, they rely on regular, annual gifts from their donor(s) to maintain a fund balance.

Is the EMU Foundation a part of the University?

The EMU Foundation is an institutionally related foundation, which is operated as a separate 501(c)(3) organization, established exclusively to support EMU. The three primary goals of the Foundation are to manage the assets, increase private support, and enhance awareness. 

What calendar does the EMU Foundation run on?

The EMU Foundation follows the University fiscal year calendar, beginning on July 1st of each year.

I want to make a gift. How can I do that? 

The easiest way to make a gift to a fund or area at EMU is by visiting our Giving page!

You may also mail a check to:

EMU Foundation
P.O. Box 972057
Ypsilanti, MI 48197-9907

Please make your check payable to the EMU Foundation and write the fund you intend to designate your gift to in the memo line (i.e. EMU Fund). You may also make a gift of stock or other marketable securities. Please contact Laura Wilbanks at (734) 487-6540 or [email protected] for more information.

I’m interested to know more about fundraising initiatives in a particular college or program. Whom should I contact? 

We’re happy to connect with you to help you learn more about a particular area of the University. To get in touch with us, please send an email to [email protected] or call us at 734.484.1322.