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University of Southern Mississippi Foundation Endowment Fund

Name: USM Foundation Endowment

Assets Under Management: $116.8 Million (Source: University of Southern Mississippi Foundation on 6/30/2014)

Annual Report: The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation Consolidated Financial Statements June 30, 2014 and 2013 (With Independent Auditors’ Report Thereon)

Portfolio Insights: “The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation ( the Foundation) is a not-for-profit entity organized under the laws of the State of Mississippi to provide support to The University of Southern Mississippi (the University) and its students. The Foundation’s investments are held in various types of investment securities across a variety of markets. Investment securities are exposed to several risks, such as interest rate, market and credit risks.

At June 30, 2014, the Foundation has 838 individual funds which function as endowment funds that are established for a variety of purposes to support the University. The endowment funds include both donor-restricted endowment funds and funds designated by the Foundation’s Board of Directors to function as endowments.” (Source)

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Top University of Southern Mississippi Foundation Endowment Fund Headlines:

1) In celebration of its 90th anniversary, Mississippi Export Railroad Company has established the Mississippi Export Railroad Gulf Coast Scholarship Endowment with a gift of $50,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi Foundation.

“Moss Point, Miss., has been the home of Mississippi Export Railroad for 90 years,” said Greg Luce, president and chairman of the board at Mississippi Export Railroad and member of the Southern Miss class of 1966. “In recognition of our anniversary, we wanted to give back to the coastal community by offering financial assistance to those pursuing a higher education.

“The University of Southern Mississippi Gulf Coast has specific needs for their students, and we have a desire to help them grow and succeed as a premier research university of the Gulf South. We are very excited about the partnership.” (Source)

2) The Hattiesburg resident joined the University of Southern Mississippi Foundation and started donating to the general scholarship fund.

“I decided that someone else may need a chance for a better opportunity,” said Holloway, an eight-year employee who works in the Trent Lott Center. “I wasn’t going to college, but I felt if I could help a student in need, it would be pleasing to the Lord.”

That was nearly two years ago, and Holloway is still giving. In fact, she plans to increase her donations in 2015.

She is among the more than 970 employees 40 percent of USM’s 2,400 faculty and staff who are giving $183,524 to the university for Fiscal Year 2014 through donations to the foundation. (Source)

3) During a reception honoring Karnes, Shannon Fleming, executive director of the University of Southern Mississippi Foundation, announced an anonymous donor has agreed to match all new gifts up to $250,000 to help fully fund the endowment.

“This is very important to gifted education,” said Karnes during the event held at the Ogletree House. “The interest on these funds can provide scholarships for teachers, gifted children and graduate students.”

The founder of the Frances A. Karnes Center for Gifted Studies said Mississippi has been one of the leaders in the United States in gifted education — adding exceptional students everywhere need to be taught on their level. (Source)

4) Stace Mercier joined the USM Foundation in 2003 as a part-time accountant and has served in various roles including the project manager to implement Blackbaud’s The Raisers Edge and The Financial Edge systems, interim advancement services director and her current position, CFO. As the CFO, Mercier’s responsibilities include management of financial accounting and reporting, investments, budget development and internal controls. She oversees the accounting system and all financial data for the foundation and is the staff liaison for the Finance and Audit Committee and the Investment Committee of the Foundation Board of Directors.

A two-time graduate of Southern Miss, Mercier has a bachelor’s degree in business administration in accountancy and a master’s degree in professional accountancy. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants. (Source)

5) Generating $15,560,117 during fiscal year 2013-14, The University of Southern Mississippi Foundation reports its second highest fundraising total in gifts and pledges received during a single fiscal year. This represents an 82 percent increase over the amount raised last year.

This year’s giving total is a testament to the loyalty and commitment of the alumni and friends of Southern Miss,” said Shannon Fleming, executive director of the USM Foundation. “We depend on private support to maintain and increase a margin of excellence that must be in place as we continue to offer a quality education for our students. The message we want all our donors to hear is that their generous gifts are changing lives for the better.”

These successes come during Dr. Rodney D. Bennett’s first complete year as president of The University of Southern Mississippi.

“Perhaps the most exciting aspect of our second-highest year ever is the fact that it came during Dr. Bennett’s first full year as president of the University,” said Bob Pierce, vice president for university advancement. “I believe this level of contributions is a strong endorsement of his presidency and the course he has charted for Southern Miss.” (Source)

About Richard C. Wilson