The expansion of private fund raising is a major opportunity for CSUN. "While CSUN's private fund raising has trailed in comparison with other CSU campuses in the past, we are finding new ways to build endowments," said Greg Buesing (right), the new director of planned giving in the University Relations Division.
The university already receives income from 165 donors who have established endowments with CSUN. Of those 165 endowments valued at $24 million, about 100 are larger than $25,000.
Endowments can be accounts, trust funds, and property from which the university receives five percent of the fair market value annually. Establishing endowments presents donors with more opportunities to carry out their visions for the university compared to other gifts, because endowments allow donors to determine how their money is used.
"We are reaching out to San Fernando Valley residents to become donors and join us to create a CSUN heritage society. The heritage society will acknowledge members, who have supported the university with endowments, bequests or other planned gifts, for their generosity with recognition programs, receptions and other benefits," Buesing said.
Besides increasing CSUN's endowment, Buesing is committed to expanding the university's planned giving program, another component of fund raising.
Typically 30 to 40 percent of CSUN's total private fund-raising revenue comes from planned giving. Planned gifts include donations from wills and trusts such as real estate, bank accounts, life insurance, as well as so-called life income gifts in the form of charitable trusts and annuities.
Last fall, CSUN introduced a new planned giving program called charitable gift annuities. A charitable gift annuity is an irrevocable gift with a low initial amount ($5,000 minimum). It is set up with a simple contract between the prospective donor and the CSU Foundation.
The donor can support any one of the colleges or university programs. In return, the donor receives a guaranteed fixed income for life from the CSU Foundation as well as initial tax deductions, plus additional tax savings on the annual income.
The program is very beneficial to retired faculty, senior management and alumni over the age of 55 in terms of tax benefits and retirement income.
But opportunities for younger donors also exist. Younger alumni can establish deferred charitable gift annuities. The annual income will be deferred until age 65, but the donor will receive an immediate income tax deduction for the initial gift.
There are not only monetary benefits to gift annuities but personal ones as well. "For professors, staff, alumni and other professionals from the community who want to make an impact at CSUN and leave a legacy, a planned gift is the most productive way to support future CSUN students," Buesing said. "The majority of funds from planned giving are used for scholarships and fellowships. A gift of $200,000 generates $10,000 a year in scholarships."
Buesing and the Association of Retired Faculty want to encourage people who have spent their lives in the San Fernando Valley and care deeply for the university to become donors. "Everybody can participate. Charitable gift annuities make it easier for people to support CSUN," he said.
Within several months, Buesing said he expects brochures, booklets and newsletters will be distributed to provide information about the options of donations and their benefits.
Buesing started his job as director of planned giving at CSUN in January-the first time the university has had a planned giving director.
His background includes jobs as regional vice president at United Way of Greater Los Angeles from 1994 to 2000, an attorney at Foley, Hoag & Eliot in Boston from 1984 to 1993, law clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit from 1983 to 1984, and advocate for native Americans of New England from 1975 to 1980.