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Foundation

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the CWU Foundation?
A: Established in 1968, the Central Washington University Foundation (CWU Foundation) is an independent but university affiliated, privately governed nonprofit corporation whose mission is to support Central Washington University. Foundation, development and alumni staff are located on the Ellensburg campus, in the historic Barge Hall, near the corner of University Way and ‘D’ Street.

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Q: Why is the Foundation separate from the University?
A: Having an independent, nonprofit foundation results in greater fundraising efficiencies and benefits for the University by assuring proper stewardship of private gifts, providing flexibility and responsiveness, managing assets strategically, engaging volunteers as informed advocates, and ensuring confidentiality of donor records.

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Q: If CWU is a public university, why does it need private gifts?
A: The State of Washington provides about 30 percent of the University’s budget, down from 60 percent in 2009. Private gifts are an important revenue source that allows the University to attract and retain the best and brightest faculty, provide scholarships, build first-class facilities, and continue the quality education and research programs that are the hallmark of Central Washington University.

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Q: How is my gift spent?
A: Each gift received by the Foundation—regardless of purpose or amount- is carefully processed to ensure that the donor’s wishes are honored and that the University receives the maximum benefit.

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Q: Is my gift tax-deductible?
A: The CWU Foundation is an IRS 501(c)(3) charitable organization. All gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible to the fullest extent of the law, but circumstances vary depending on each donor’s individual financial situation. You should consult with your tax attorney/advisor concerning the deductibility of your gift.

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Q: Who decides the fundraising priorities?
A: CWU’s campus leadership determine which proposed initiatives and projects become fundraising priorities in consultation with the university president and the Foundation Board. Foundation staff takes the information from the Board and President and develop a plan which includes strategies for seeking funding for the priorities.

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Q: Can I designate my gift for a particular purpose?
A: Yes: A donor may designate a gift to a particular campus, college/school, department, or even to a particular fund supporting an existing CWU initiative. Although discretionary gifts provide the University’s leadership with the most flexibility in responding to the needs of the institution, every gift makes a difference to CWU’s future.

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Q: Who serves on the Foundation Board?
A: The membership of the Foundation Board is drawn from a broad spectrum of state and national business and community leaders and alumni who share a commitment to Central Washington University.

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Q: Who manages the Foundation’s endowment?
A: A volunteer Finance and Investment Committee, composed of Foundation Board members, provides fiduciary oversight and works with a number of consultative financial advisors to determine investment policy.

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Q: How is the Foundation funded?
A: The Foundation is funded through a combination of mechanisms including: university funding, unrestricted gifts and fundraising, an administrative fee, and an endowment management fee.

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Q: What kind of information is available to the public and media?
A: The Central Washington University Foundation goes above and beyond state and federal requirements by providing audited financials, summaries of investment activities, annual reports and the IRS Form 990. Documents related to financial expenditures by the Foundation, which benefit the University, are also considered public records. The Foundation does not disclose private information regarding donors or potential donors without their written permission.

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Q: How can I obtain additional information?
A: For more information, please contact our office at (509) 963-2764.

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