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Giving to OU

Frequently Asked Questions for Giving to OU:


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What is an annual gift?
Annual gifts are those gifts, typically made annually, that alumni and friends make in support of the university’s students and programs. Many times, these gifts are made in response to the OU Telefund, direct mail appeals or via online giving.
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What do annual gifts support?
Many annual gifts are unrestricted, allowing the university to place resources where they are most needed or opportunities are the greatest. Unrestricted annual gifts directly assist students by providing scholarships, enhanced technology and innovative academic programs. Donors also may restrict their annual gifts to a specific college, school or auxiliary to provide funding in a special area.
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Why are annual gifts important?
Tuition comprises only 65% of the cost of an Oakland education. The remaining 35% comes from state funding and, increasingly, private gifts from alumni and friends. Michigan’s public higher education institutions have experienced continued declines in state funding. Private support is critical as the university moves forward, continuing to provide the distinctive academic programs that have made an Oakland University degree second to none.
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Who benefits from annual gifts?
Everyone benefits from annual gifts to Oakland University, including students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and the community at-large. Funding provided by annual gifts supports the development of academic programs and allows the university to take advantage of special opportunities. As the university’s reputation continues to broaden, so too does enrollment. In turn, the value of an OU degree grows for all alumni. Furthermore, the surrounding local and regional economies are boosted by both income generated from university consumers and the educated workforce trained at OU.
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How do I make an annual gift?
Annual gifts can be made in many convenient ways. Many donors choose to respond to direct mail appeals, or make their gift through the OU Telefund Campaign or via online giving. Annual gifts made by check or credit card are most typical, however, you also may make a gift through stock transfer or spread your gift over a period of time through pledge installments. Contact us at (248) 364-6160 to discuss the gift vehicle that’s right for you.
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Where does my annual gift go?
Many annual giving donors ask that their gifts support the area of greatest need. These unrestricted donations allow for flexibility and make funds available for new initiatives and partnerships. Many donors also choose to support the general OU Scholarship Fund or you may designate your gift to a specific program or department.
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When should I make my annual gift?
Annual gifts can be made any day of the year, and thanks to online giving, any time of the day! The Division of Development, Alumni and Community Engagement uses the calendar year to determine recognition levels for a given year. For example, donors to OU in the 2010 calendar year (January 1, 2010 – December 31, 2010) will be recognized in the Donor Honor Roll published in spring 2011.
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What are unrestricted gifts?
An unrestricted gift is one given without restrictions on its use. Unrestricted gifts provide the university with the flexibility to place resources where they are most needed or to meet unplanned challenges.
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May I direct my gift to support a designated program or area?
Yes. When completing the give to OU form or talking with an OU development officer, simply indicate how you want your gift to be used.
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Are there opportunities to create scholarships or professorships?
Yes, many opportunities are available. Please contact Director Annual Giving at (248) 364-6163 to talk about how you want to make a gift.
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Are there naming opportunities available?
The university provides many opportunities for donors to associate their name or someone else's name with Oakland's academic mission. Please contact Director of Annual Giving at (248) 364-6163 to talk about naming opportunities.
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Should I consider establishing a fellowship or professorship?
A fellowship is an endowment for the support of a student scholar who is pursuing a specific research or educational initiative. A professorship is an endowment for the support of a faculty member who is engaged in a specific research or teaching initiative. Both opportunities are extremely important to the advancement of Oakland's mission and vision for preeminence in undergraduate education.
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What is an endowed fund?
An endowed fund is a gift that may be designated for a specific educational purpose. Examples might include a lecture series, student recognition awards, faculty research in a particular academic or creative area, or tuition assistance. This support broadens Oakland's undergraduate experience and ensures that we continue to offer the finest possible college education. To create an endowed fund, a minimum gift of $25,000 is required.  Multiple options exist for the timing and method of funding.
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What is an endowed scholarship?
An endowed scholarship is to specifically provide financial support for students. To create an endowed scholarship, a minimum gift of $50,000 is required. An endowed scholarship fund creates a deeply rewarding bond between donors and students. It provides a way to touch someone in a very real and lasting way – changing the direction of a life and impacting its development for years to come.
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What is the impact of my scholarship gift? How does it make a difference?
Providing funds to establish a scholarship or endowed fund to support a specific educational endeavor makes a lasting difference in the life of a deserving student. It allows the scholarship recipient to pursue an educational goal that might not otherwise be possible. In short, it is life changing for these individuals. At the same time, you are giving Oakland the tools to recruit high-caliber students who, because of their Oakland experience, go on to secure leadership roles in industry, health care, government and education. In this way, your scholarship support allows Oakland to significantly enhance the southeastern Michigan workforce and beyond.
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Who should I contact about making a planned gift?
After consulting with an appropriate adviser, such as your personal financial planner, you should contact Director of Planned Giving, Angie Schmucker, at (248) 364-6129 or schmucke@oakland.edu for more information.
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What is a matching gift?
Many corporations have matching gift programs through which a company will match gifts their employees make to qualified charities, including Oakland University. The impact of your annual gift may be doubled or even tripled if your company has such a program. Matching gift policies vary from company to company, so please check with your human resources department to see if your employer matches charitable gifts. Many companies also will match gifts of their retirees and employee spouses. You will receive a tax receipt for only the amount of your personal contribution. The value of your matching gift will, however, be included in calculating your membership in both annual and cumulative university giving societies. Check with your human resources office for details. You also can contact the Director of Annual Giving, Starr Cornell,  at (248) 364-6163 or cornell2@oakland.edu. visit the Matching Gifts page.
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Will you keep information about my gift anonymous?
If you request your donation remain anonymous, Oakland University will honor that request.
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