USM Foundation receives record-high donations

The 2013-2014 fiscal year proved to be extremely successful for The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation, as it reported a large increase in donations and a generated total of nearly $16 million.

According to a press release, 2013-2014 saw the second highest amount of giving to Southern Miss, thanks in large part to an extremely successful fundraiser and a record-setting number of faculty and staff donations.

USM Foundation
USM Foundation

Donors generously gave to The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation throughout the year, but in March of this year, a 36-hour crowdfunding event, Southern Miss Gold Rush, brought in over $200,000 for Southern Miss, according to a press release.

The fundraiser was aggressively promoted on social media and through other platforms, and it encouraged student and faculty giving, while appealing to more traditional contributors, alumni and Southern Miss fans in the community. The amount raised from the Gold Rush was revealed at the 2014 Founder’s Day celebration by Southern Miss President Rodney Bennett and included contributions from three countries and 38 states in the US.

The 2013-2014 fiscal year also showed a drastic growth in employee giving. Forty percent of the university’s faculty and staff made donations of some sort to Southern Miss in the past year, demonstrating staff dedication to the Southern Miss. The process is fairly simple for Southern Miss employees to donate; they can opt to have donations deducted directly out of their paycheck.

Gifts to the foundation help support the various needs of the university, from funding faculty research, to providing the money for scholarships for students with particular hometowns or majors, to improving campus facilities. Donors can choose to either designate their gift to a specific cause, area of campus or type of student, or they can make an unrestricted gift, which will allow the University to allocate the money where the greatest need is.

Donations made during the 2013-2014 year resulted in millions of dollars given to different entities on campus, including the DuBard School, the College of Nursing Building Campaign, and the Dale Center for the Study of War & Society. The DuBard School, which assists children with speech and hearing disorders, and the nursing program are both well recognized at Southern Miss, while the Dale Center has managed to bring high-profile speakers to Hattiesburg over the years, such as former Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The success of the year is topped only by the 2011-2012 fiscal year, which saw over $20 million donated to the university through gifts and pledges, according to the Foundation’s 2012 Annual Report.

The foundation’s website provides a list of 650 annual and endowed scholarships available to students, organized by academic college, and gives information on how to apply for these scholarships.