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Mission | Purpose | FAQ


The purpose of the Ferris Foundation is to advance the mission and goals of Ferris State University by generating and managing private support for the university.


Since 1991, The Ferris Foundation has been responsible for receiving, investing and distributing endowment gifts, which provide a source of perpetual support for Ferris State University. The Foundation also serves as the university’s philanthropic organization, receiving and acknowledging all gifts to the university, including annual gifts that meet present needs. The Foundation strives to enhance stewardship and communication with donors, creating a more efficient and unified approach to philanthropy, strengthening the Foundation’s mission as a valued and trusted intermediary between Ferris State University and its donors. 


  •  What is the Ferris Foundation and what is its mission?
    The Ferris Foundation is the fundraising arm of the University. Previous to January 1, 2015, the Ferris Foundation held and invested the corpus of the endowment for the University. After January 1, the Ferris Foundation will receive and acknowledge all gifts to Ferris State University. It is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation that exists solely for the benefit of Ferris State University.
  •  Why are all gifts now being processed through the Foundation?
    To provide more transparency in consolidated reporting to the Board of Trustees of all giving to Ferris State University and create a recognized brand for fundraising activities for Ferris State University.
  •  Where is it located?
    The Foundation office is housed in the University Advancement & Marketing offices in the Prakken Building.
  •  Who governs the Foundation?
    The Board of Directors is comprised of community, business, professional and industry leaders, a Board of Trustee liaison, alumni and current faculty and staff. Directors are volunteers who provide external oversight of the Foundation’s operation and are appointed by the Ferris State University Board of Trustees. They serve without compensation, contributing their time, wisdom and resources for the best interest of the university.
  •  How long has it existed?
    The Ferris Foundation was created in 1991 as the successor organization of the Ferris State University Alumni Foundation.
  •  What is an endowment?
    An endowment is a gift where the fund is invested and a portion of the income is awarded for scholarships and/or program support. The Ferris Foundation annually awards 4% of the rolling 3-year average of the value of the endowment to support scholarships and programs at Ferris State University. Awards are calculated annually as of December 31, and a distribution is made after July 1.
  •  What is the minimum gift to create an endowment?
    The minimum gift required to create an endowment is $25,000.
  •  How is the endowment invested and who oversees this?
    The Ferris Foundation Investment Committee is responsible for managing the assets following the stated objectives of the Foundation investment policy. Currently, the Foundation contracts with Ellwood Associates to provide strategic direction for the investment the assets of the Foundation. Read more about the Foundation investment policy.
  •  What is the oversight for disbursement of funds from the Foundation?
    The Foundation is limited by both state and federal law concerning how the funds it receives are distributed. In addition, a policy has been established detailing the specific requirements and procedures for disbursing funds from the Foundation to Ferris State University.
  •  Why am I getting telephone calls from the University?

    The student callers in our Telephone Outreach Program make calls to alumni and friends of the university to:

    • Keep our alumni connected with the university and give our donors the opportunity to speak with students about their shared experiences while they were a student at Ferris.
    • Secure gifts to support the growth of the university.
    • Update the alumni database.
  •  How does the money get to my budget and how quickly (Faculty and Staff)?

    Gifts will be deposited following university cash handling policy to the Ferris Foundation holding account and instructions are uploaded by advancement services to accounting weekly for distribution to departmental FOAPS.