Frequently Asked Questions
If Idaho State University is a public institution, why does it need private support?
Like most state universities today, Idaho State University receives a small percent of its annual budget directly from the state. ISU is state-assisted, not state supported, and must rely on other sources to cover its operating expenses. Current sources of support come from tuition and fees, federal and state grants, and the generosity of ISU donors. Because state support is declining relative to the University’s total operating budget and limited increases can be expected in tuition, private gifts are critical to the future of Idaho State University and its student population.
What is the relationship between the University and the Foundation?
The Mission of the Idaho State University Foundation is to inspire voluntary private support from alumni, parents, friends, corporations, foundations and others for the benefit of Idaho State University. The two entities utilize a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines the way the Foundation and ISU have agreed to work together.Review the MOU here.
What are the benefits to Idaho State University?
The support that the Foundation provides to the University is critical as it augments Idaho State University’s other revenue sources. During the 2014 fiscal year, the Foundation raised $7,483,528 in support of scholarships, academic programs, student life, athletics, facilities, and faculty support.
Are ISU Foundation donor records open to the public?
No, Idaho State University Foundation donor records are not open to the public. The ISU Foundation is a separate tax-exempt corporation, not a public agency. This separate structure, which is utilized successfully to support public institutions nationwide, legally preserves the private nature of gifts received in the same manner that donor privacy is ensured in the case of most charitable organizations. An independent foundation can better serve Idaho State University and donors if its separate nature continues to be respected. It accomplishes this in a number of important ways:
- It provides donors with an extra level of assurance that their gifts will be used in accordance with their wishes.
- Gifts made to the Foundation on behalf of ISU provide program enhancement rather than replacement of state support.
- The Foundation ensures donor privacy when requested, as well as the confidentiality of donor information.
How does the ISU Foundation fund its operations?
Like many university foundations and charitable organizations, the ISU Foundation requires funding to support its efforts to continue to secure the private gifts which support the mission of Idaho State University. As mandated by the Idaho State Board of Education, the ISU Foundation must fund its own operating costs. This is achieved by assessing a small fee to gifts of 4% for all gifts including gifts to student organizations. We are pleased to be counted among university foundations which assess the lowest gift fee, noting that such fees range from 5%-18% at peer institutions across the country.
Why does the ISU Foundation charge an administrative fee for each gift?
As mandated by the Idaho State Board of Education, the ISU Foundation must fund its own operating costs. This is achieved by assessing a small fee of 4% gifts it receives. We are pleased to be counted among university foundations which assess the lowest gift fee, noting that such fees range from 5%-18% at peer institutions across the country.
What is the oversight of the Foundation?
The Idaho State University Foundation is accountable to its Board of Directors and must adhere to a variety of federal and state regulations and laws.
Idaho State University Foundation has an independent volunteer Board of Directors that executes its fiduciary responsibilities under the strictest of guidelines. They understand the need for transparent and ethical dealings in all matters so as not to jeopardize the Foundation’s status as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation. The Board has committees that actively oversee the development, investment, and finance activities of the Foundation.
Each year, the Foundation is required to have an audit conducted in accordance with generally accepted auditing standards by an independent certified public accounting firm. The audit report must include financial statements, a management letter, and an opinion as to whether the Foundation’s operating procedures meet the requirements of governing agencies. The audit report is reviewed by Board of Directors. In addition, the Foundation is required to comply with all federal laws governing 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations and annually file IRS Form 990.
What control is exercised over disbursements?
The Foundation is limited by both state and federal law concerning how the funds it receives may be expended. Disbursements from Foundation accounts must:
- Comply with all donor imposed restrictions;
- Support the University’s mission and programs;
- Represent reasonable, legitimate and arm’s length business transactions;
- Comply with Foundation disbursement policies;
- Comply with State Board policies; and
- Comply with applicable laws.
This process is examined and tested annually in accordance with the independent accounting audit.
Where can I mail a check to support Idaho State University?
Idaho State University Foundation
921 S. 8th Ave, Stop 8050
Pocatello, Idaho 83209-8050
Are gifts made to the Idaho State University tax deductible?
Yes, gifts made to ISU and processed through the ISU Foundation are fully tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law.
What is the difference between restricted and unrestricted gifts?
The vast majority of gifts that the ISU Foundation receives are designated for a specific purpose at Idaho State University. The Foundation has a fiduciary responsibility to comply with donor intentions with respect to the charitable gifts it accepts and may not expend funds in a manner inconsistent with the terms of the gift provided by the donor. The Foundation cannot appropriate any of these restricted funds for any other purpose not in keeping with the specific provisions defined by the donors at the time their gift is made.
Gifts received as unrestricted allow Idaho State University to adapt and respond to the currents needs of the University. Unrestricted gifts provide flexibility that enables ISU to seize opportunities and meet the demands and challenges of today’s rapidly changing educational environment. Unrestricted dollars support a variety of programs including student scholarships, academics, student life, technology, institutional development, faculty recruitment and retention, and facilities.
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