Foundation FAQs

Showalter Hall

Is the Eastern Washington University Foundation a legally incorporated entity?

Yes, the EWU Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization incorporated in the state of Washington. Are my donations to the Foundation tax deductible? Yes. As mentioned above, the EWU Foundation is a legally incorporated nonprofit organization, awarded charitable (501(c)(3)) status by the I.R.S. Your donations to the Foundation are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law.

Why does a state university need private support?

Eastern Washington University is state-assisted rather than state-supported with approximately 30 percent of EWU’s operating budget being provided by state appropriations. State support is critically important, but it continues to decline as a percentage of the university’s total operating budget, making private contributions from alumni and friends increasingly important if EWU is to fulfill its mission of excellence in education and service.

How does the EWU Foundation serve the university?

The EWU Foundation exists solely for Eastern Washington University’s benefit, serving as the preferred channel by Eastern for private gifts to all areas of the university. The Foundation is governed by a board of directors.

What are the Foundation’s fundraising priorities and who sets them?

Because the EWU Foundation was established to facilitate the university’s mission, the Foundation’s major initiatives are set by the university’s board of trustees, president, provost and central administration with the concurrence of the Foundation’s management group and board of directors.

College and department fundraising priorities are recommended and approved by deans and the EWU administration with advice and cooperation from the Foundation executive director and staff. However, some fundraising projects evolve from the ideas of external individuals or constituencies. In those cases, development staff members work with donors who demonstrate an interest in supporting any part of the university.

What is an endowment?

An endowment preserves capital, overcomes inflation, and provides long-term, reliable income to the university. For example, a $100,000 scholarship gift might be awarded to deserving students at $5,000 per year – meaning the scholarship fund will be depleted in 20 years. But if that $100,000 were used to establish an endowment, the gift would be invested and a portion of the earnings used to award scholarships. Another portion would be used to increase the principal and offset investment costs. The endowment would therefore continue to grow over time, supporting scholarships for as long as the university exists.

What is the endowment payout level? What fees are associated with the endowment?

The EWU Foundation expends four percent (4%) of an endowment annually to the designation selected by the donor. Consistent with peer institutions, an additional two percent (2%) is assessed as an endowment fee to help facilitate Foundation activities and management costs. Investment return greater than this combined six percent (6%) is invested back into the principal.

What about smaller gifts?

Every gift does make a difference. Through the Annual Fund, even relatively small gifts can have a major impact. Just $25 can purchase a new library book or slides and Petri dishes for a chemistry lab. A $100 gift can help a student research an honors thesis. A $500 gift can support an internship or award a stipend to a graduate student. And when combined with hundreds or even thousands of other “small” gifts, the university can hire new faculty members, offer scholarships or meet a host of other critical, ongoing needs.

How can I make a gift or pledge to the EWU Foundation?

The fastest and easiest way is through our secure online giving site. You may also mail your gift to EWU Foundation, 102 Hargreaves Hall, Cheney, WA 99004-2413. Please make your check payable to the Eastern Washington University Foundation. Be sure to let us know the area you want to benefit. For larger gifts, estate plan gifts or vehicles, or gifts of appreciated assets, please contact Michael Westfall, executive director of the EWU Foundation at 509.359.7430.

Can I give gifts of securities?

Publicly traded stocks and bonds that have current marketable value will be accepted at any time and can be a great way to avoid capital gains taxes. Valuation of the gift shall be the average of the high and low trade prices of the security on the day it is irrevocably transferred to the EWU Foundation. Commission and sales costs will be paid from the proceeds of the sale of the security.

The EWU Foundation utilizes a local brokerage house to handle receipt of all securities gifted to the EWU Foundation. Special procedures apply to different types of stock gifts. Donors and development staff should contact the executive director at 509.359.7430 for assistance and instructions regarding any gift of securities.

What does the EWU Foundation do with contributions?

The Foundation does exactly what the donors ask us to do with their gifts. The majority of gifts are “restricted” to a particular endowment, college, department or program. We deposit these gifts into accounts established at the request of donors, administrators, deans, department chairs or program managers to hold gift funds. You will see that designation confirmed on the gift receipt and thank you note sent to you after the gift is received. Unrestricted gifts are utilized in the areas of greatest need.

How is the EWU Foundation accountable?

The EWU Foundation is committed to retaining both public and private trust. The EWU Foundation openly discloses information about financial statements, fundraising priorities and other information that helps further an understanding of the mission and goals. Each year, the EWU Foundation books are fully audited, and we comply with literally hundreds of regulatory requirements at the federal, state and local level.

Who governs the Foundation?

The EWU Foundation Board of Directors governs the EWU Foundation. Its directors, each a leader in business, the professions or civic affairs, contribute their time, wisdom and resources to EWU. They are volunteers and serve without compensation. They meet four times a year as a body and many attend committee meetings between regular full sessions. They contribute their considerable expertise. In addition, they contribute generously of their own resources.

The directors provide external oversight of the Foundation’s operations, and the executive director of the Foundation reports to them. The bylaws stipulate that one member of the university’s board of trustees (BOT), acting as a representative of the BOT, can serve as a director on the Foundation, thus assuring a formal channel of communication between EWU and the EWU Foundation. The directors recognize a responsibility to reflect in their membership the geographic, ethnic and gender diversity of Eastern Washington University’s alumni and friends.


* An annual administrative fee of up to 2% may apply to your donation. This fee provides essential operational support for the EWU Foundation.