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Make a Difference Giving to Michigan State University

Faculty, staff and retiree giving back tops $11 million

MSU faculty, staff and retirees are well known for their contributions to the university in their hard work, talent and professionalism, but they are also known for commendable financial support. Over the past decade, gifts to MSU from employees or former employees have steadily grown and at the end of the last fiscal year made up over $12 million in support for MSU.

“Giving by the faculty, staff and retirees of MSU is making a difference in keeping MSU accessible to potential students and in providing essential financial flexibility to initiatives across campus,” said Bob Groves, vice president for University Advancement. “Gifts from the people who know MSU so well underscore the belief we all share in the core values and important mission of Michigan State University. We are grateful for their support which embodies the spirit that makes MSU a special place.”

Given the economic downturn of recent years, a flattening or decrease in giving by current employees might have been expected, but that has not occurred. For example, in the late summer of 2009 as news spread about significant reductions in state funding to students, MSU’s deans and vice presidents elected to donate their salary increases to support student financial aid, setting a standard that many others chose to follow. Collectively, the gifts from these individuals will add more than $500,000 in scholarship support.

The awareness and utilization of deferred giving among faculty, staff and retirees also has seen steady increases. Deferred giving allows donors to remember MSU in their estate plans with charitable bequests through provisions in their wills or through a number of giving vehicles including charitable gift annuities.

A charitable gift annuity allows donors to provide for the future benefit of MSU while also meeting current income needs with a fixed and guaranteed income for life. Depending on the age of the annuitants, the income can offer higher rates of return than might be achieved with other investments. A charitable gift annuity also provides tax benefits, as a federal tax deduction can be claimed and a portion of the income can be received tax-free.

Each spring the MSU Annual Fund conducts an All University Campaign that specifically reaches out to the campus audience. Faculty, staff and retiree giving during the campaign has been on an upward trajectory for years.

Since 2002, giving during this campaign has tripled from less than $200,000 to nearly $600,000 each year. The number of individuals participating has also grown substantially. Back in the 2002 All University Campaign, 691 individuals participated. Today over 3,000 of MSU’s faculty, staff and retirees give during the campaign.

MSU’s employees and retirees are among the most generous in the nation, notes Kathleen Deneau, director of the Annual Fund.

“MSU’s faculty, staff and retiree giving is notable among peer institutions, many of which do not have internal campaigns,” she said. “MSU’s employees and former employees are also known for their loyalty, with the majority continuing to give each year.”