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The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation Sees Steady Growth in Support of Southern Miss

Sun, 08/25/2019 - 13:06pm | By: Megan Burkes

With private support from 4,000 alumni and friends of The University of Southern Mississippi, gifts contributed through the USM Foundation totaled $15.8 million during the 2019 fiscal year. This total includes $7 million in outright gifts and $8.8 million in deferred gifts through estate planning.

Significant gifts during the 2019 fiscal year included:

  • A $5.3 million gift from the Tolosa family enhancing an existing estate plan to provide scholarships for juniors and seniors who need assistance to complete their degrees, to provide scholarships for veteran students, and to provide support for the School of Finance and the USM Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families.
  • The lead gift to support a new building for the USM Center for Military Veterans, Service Members and Families from Joe ’73 and Suzanne Quinlan.

Through the USM Foundation, $7.9 million was disbursed to the University in fiscal year 2019 to support various scholarships and programs, including over $4 million awarded through more than 2,000 scholarships. Since 2015, 10,858 scholarships have been awarded through the USM Foundation from the generosity of our Southern Miss community, totaling $19.4 million in privately-funded scholarships.

This year, the USM Foundation celebrates 60 years of philanthropy to USM. “The need for scholarships was the catalyst for our inception on October 27, 1959, as the Mississippi Southern Foundation,” said Stace Mercier, executive director. “Still today, student support is the crux of our work at the USM Foundation. Our role is to help each donor align their philanthropic goals with those of the University’s to amplify the collective impact, generating lasting change.”

At the close of the 2019 fiscal year, the USM Foundation’s endowment has neared $105 million in market value. “It took a full decade to raise the first million dollars in support of USM. This most recent decade saw giving exceed $137 million,” said Mercier. “Today and every day, we should celebrate the power of philanthropy across our campuses and research sites. Those before us would be proud of where we are today – and, I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our beloved Southern Miss.”