What is the Georgia State University Foundation?

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Tuition, fees and state support fund Georgia State. But these only cover two-thirds of the school’s expenses. What fills that last one-third? The Georgia State University Foundation.

The foundation is a tax-exempt, non-profit organization that helps fund Georgia State, taking in millions of dollars of revenue each year, primarily through tax-deductible donations. Charitable donations to the school are also given through the foundation, which it then distributes the funds to Georgia State’s needs.

GILEE is funded entirely through private donations made to the foundation and law enforcement agencies, according to Robert Friedmann, GILEE’s founding director.

“Only foundation funding that has been given specifically for GILEE is used for GILEE,” Andrea Jones, associate vice president for public relations at the university, said. 

But the foundation’s role at Georgia State is much broader than GILEE — throughout the fiscal years 2012-16, the foundation averaged $32.8 million a year in gifts to use toward university needs. 

However, the foundation isn’t funded by charitable donations alone. According to its 990 tax form for 2017, the foundation has several methods for gaining revenue, which are divided into four categories: donations, program services, investment income and a miscellaneous category. 

In 2017, the foundation earned $26 million through donations, $18 million through program services, such as leasing and renting income, and $38 million in investment income, for a total revenue of $82 million. In the tax documents, the foundation describes three broad categories of support for the school.

The first category is program support. At $35 million in 2017, it constitutes the largest share of support, which is dedicated to the university’s education, facilities, activities and programs. The funds specifically provide space and technology for teaching, learning and research.

The second is student support. This applies to merit- and need-based scholarships provided by the university. It also aids efforts to manage tuition costs and debt loads. The foundation granted $7 million for these programs.

The third is faculty and staff support, with $4 million, some of which goes towards increasing faculty salaries. The donations are used to expand research opportunities and improve the classroom environment by attracting and retaining world class faculty. 

Due to how broad the expenditure categories are, the specific expenses that the foundation covers, programs they fund or departments they contribute to aren’t named. 

In 2017, there are three specific contractors the foundation paid. They were contracted for real estate and construction on Georgia State’s campus, including renovations and maintenance of buildings and classrooms.  

Within the foundation, there are only four paid employees on the document: President Walter Massey; Assistant Treasurer and CFO Dale Palmer; Assistant Secretary Adrienne Veal and Comptroller Mildred Begitschke. In 2017, the foundation paid a little more than $600,000 for their four salaries combined.