Frequently Asked Questions

Why does a public university need my support?

What is an endowment?

What about smaller gifts?

Can I donate in honor of a family member or friend?

Can I give an anonymous gift?

Is my gift to the Binghamton University Foundation tax deductible?

What is the current Binghamton University Foundation endowment?

What is the alumni participation rate and why is it important?


Why does a public university need my support?

Like most other public universities, Binghamton University receives just a fraction -- approximately 16 percent -- of its revenue directly from the state. Federal dollars are sometimes allocated to a specified project or infrastructure needs. Tuition, which has failed to keep pace with inflation over the past decade accounts for a small percentage of University revenue.

Binghamton must rely on private donors to support the rest -- everything from scholarships and faculty hiring and retention, to equipment for classrooms and laboratories. When buildings are built, state funds pay for the actual cost of construction, but not for the furnishings needed to bring those spaces to life. Gifts and endowments also enable the University to weather the inevitable "lean years," when budget cuts and competing priorities result in greater challenges for public institutions.

The Binghamton University Foundation partners with the University to raise, manage, invest and administer donor support to fulfill campus needs and enhance the University's academic mission. The Foundation accepts charitable contributions in support of and on behalf of the University, because as a state agency, the University cannot accept gifts directly.

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What is an endowment?

A charitable gift designated as an endowment is managed and invested by the Foundation. A portion of the earnings is then used to fund the scholarship or program for which it is designated.

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 continue to grow over time, supporting the scholarship or program for as long the University exists.

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What about smaller gifts?

Every gift makes a difference. Through the Binghamton Fund, even relatively small gifts can have a major impact. Just $25 can purchase a new library book or slides, or petri dishes for a chemistry lab. A $100 gift can help a student research an honors thesis. A contribution of $500 can support an internship or provide a stipend to a graduate student. And, when combined with hundreds or thousands of other "small" gifts, the University can hire new faculty members, offer merit scholarships or meet a host of other critical, ongoing needs.

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Can I donate in honor of a family member or friend?

Endowments and scholarships are often named in honor of a family member or friend. Also, naming opportunities for classrooms, gathering spaces, laboratories and buildings are available for donors who wish to honor or memorialize their loved ones in this manner.

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Can I give an anonymous gift?

Yes, donors often choose to remain anonymous. The University always respects a donor's stated wish for privacy.

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Is my gift to the Binghamton University Foundation tax deductible?

Yes, the Foundation is a federally-recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Gifts to the Foundation are therefore tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.

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What is the current Binghamton University Foundation endowment?

The Foundation's endowment increased to $103.7 million, as of June 30, 2014. A growing endowment means more support for students, faculty and programs to sustain all that is great about the University. 

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What is the alumni participation rate and why is this important?

Nearly 8,000, or 6.6 percent, of Binghamton's more than 117,000 alumni make financial contributions in support of the University.

Alumni participation is important because:

  • It builds pride in the University and enhances the value of a Binghamton degree.
  • It elevates the University's reputation. Publications such as U.S. News & World Report use the alumni participation rate when calculating rankings. Binghamton's ranking is consistently in the top 50 of all public national universities.
  • Granting agencies take this rate into consideration when making funding decisions.

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Last Updated: 11/19/14