Why should I donate to my alma mater?

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munemaker
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by munemaker » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:18 pm

My alma mater never gave me a dime when I was attending. My parents paid 100% of full sticker price. As a result, I choose not to donate anything to them.

Theseus
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by Theseus » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:23 pm

PVW wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:43 pm
Theseus wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 1:13 pm
My main reason (without knowing any facts), some of these colleges (and mine included) have so much endowment money that I can't fathom as to why they need any more money.
I have similar feelings, but at least (most?) universities are upfront about their endowments. Some public universities have squirreled away public funding into slush funds while continuing to increase tuition.

http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/u ... 94938.html
http://host.madison.com/wsj/news/local/ ... 63d28.html
http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/04/25/c ... den-funds/
Thank you for sharing. Now I have some facts.

It just sickens me to see that universities have been hoarding all this money while demanding more and more from students. Making it so difficult for kids to have a reasonable life once they graduate - let alone plan for proper retirement.

And unintended consequence is that a single person that is a great spouse material otherwise (with perfectly good morals, good job, good work ethics, family values etc.) is considered less worthy of a partner because of the high student debt.

Broken Man 1999
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by Broken Man 1999 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:38 pm

I donate to my alma mater to get great seats for football season help support student athletes. :happy

Broken Man 1999
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flyingaway
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by flyingaway » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:41 pm

munemaker wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:18 pm
My alma mater never gave me a dime when I was attending. My parents paid 100% of full sticker price. As a result, I choose not to donate anything to them.
I should ask my sons to denote any money to me.

Da5id
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by Da5id » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:16 pm

Interesting how bitter some feel about school. I guess maybe part of why I feel like donating to my graduate school is that it was fully funded and I got a stipend for going :) They don't need the money, but by contributing a modest amount I get the magazine and stay more in touch with things. And as I said upthread, 20 years later I still am a member of a club (which has a large alumni presence) that I go to weekly, so I still feel a strong connection...

JBTX
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by JBTX » Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:45 pm

I used to given token amounts years ago, but I stopped doing so some years back. I guess my thought process was that if I'm going to give to charity, I'm probably going to direct more towards those in significant need vs a charity in which the beneficiaries are often upper middle class.

mindboggling
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by mindboggling » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:17 pm

I graduated, just barely, from one of the "Little Ivys" and got nothing out of it academically (not their fault!). Participating in an extra-curricular activity (university radio station) , however, did launch me into a career in broadcasting where I spent most of my working years.

I used to contribute token amounts but don't anymore. Other non-profits need the money more.
In broken mathematics, We estimate our prize, --Emily Dickinson

beachlover
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by beachlover » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:01 pm

I give to my alma mater, but in routine and small amounts, to public service areas from which I benefit (I am still local to the area) - e.g. the art museum and public broadcasting (radio and TV) - and also to a major annual student-run medical/research fundraiser that is a vehicle for good works and source of pride among the students. There are a couple of other public facing services/activities that I regularly use and have been thinking about similarly beginning to support (e.g. arboretum).

At our level of giving, we won't be naming a campus bench, let alone a lab or building. Having observed operations over most of my career there - I see no reason to support them more broadly with general funds. If I didn't live here I wouldn't be giving, and if I lived somewhere else I would instead be giving to equivalent local organizations or services. So in a sense, it's not like I'm giving to my "alma mater" at all, just local services that I'm glad are here, that I am glad to support in some small way, and that happen to be run by my alma mater.

tnr
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by tnr » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:04 pm

I donate to the departments that I majored in for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees. I primarily do it in honor of the professors in those departments who befriended me and encouraged me to continue learning. Since it was so long ago, all of those professors are gone now but I hope my note of gratitude will encourage the current faculty to help the current students beyond just what they teach in class.

mainiac
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by mainiac » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:16 pm

I donate to my alma mater (small college). My income increased substantially as a result of my education.
My husband does not donate to his alma mater. Our daughter (excellent student) applied to his college and was rejected - any cause and effect?

I absolutely refuse to donate as a parent to the colleges my children attend and attended - I pay/paid them enough money!

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Wildebeest
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by Wildebeest » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:17 pm

It never occurred to donate to my alma mater. I do get the emails.

What did they ever improve the quality of my life?

If I would have a next go around, I would start some kind of college /law school or medical school and charge outrageous fees (the more successful school /the venture might be, the more likely I would take an outrageous salary commensurate with the fees the school charges).
The Golden Rule: One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

inbox788
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by inbox788 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 9:42 pm

MathWizard wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:31 pm
My reasons:

I direct my gift to the departments which I was in which were underfunded,
I leave it to their discretion how to spend that money.

I also direct funds to a scholarship fund for students. I would not have been able to attend
without the scholarship I had, and I want to extend that generosity to some other student.

Granted that money is fungible, and the University could just give less to a department and
us that money, it could not use the money for scholarships in that way without completely ruining
their fund-raising foundation.


A second reason which is less altruistic is that by maintaining quality at the institution from which
you graduated, you keep the value of your degree brand high.

Imagine that you have a degree from a private college that went bankrupt. (I know 4 people for
which that is true.) Now it probably does not matter, as they are late in their careers, but it
seems strange to list a now non-existent school as your alma mater.
1) I agree that money is fungible, so if alumni donate more, other discretionary funds may wind up going elsewhere. Still, the total amount of money an institution has to spend helps maintain its reputation. Your donations help keep the brand high and improve student quality.

2) I'm slowly planning on giving more in the future, but like other comment about the token participation rate, I do my part. I am looking into making larger donations towards student scholarships as a way to pay back for the scholarships I received. It's more of a personal obligation.

3) One complicated area that's I've been studying has been CRAT/CRUT/Unitrust funded with appreciated stocks for the tax benefit. The way I understand it is I'm buying some sort of annuity (which I was looking into anyway - longevity insurance) and the school receives benefit with what remains. Win/win.
https://www.bogleheads.org/wiki/Charita ... nder_trust

ccieemeritus
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by ccieemeritus » Wed Nov 29, 2017 10:59 pm

My wife did a postdoc at (but did not get a degree from) Stanford. They mail us for money quarterly. They call us occasionally. They refer to my wife as an alumni in the letters and on the calls.

Whenever they call I say “if you send us a copy of my wife’s diploma, I will gladly send you a donation.”

jumppilot
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by jumppilot » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:07 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:04 pm
Why don't my high schools or kindergartens ask me for money? Weren't they just as important to my development?

I have a co-worker who donated about a $1,000 a year (books, supplies, etc) to his kids' classroom when they were younger. It was a lower income area that didn't have the property tax base.

Discussing it with him, he told me it was much more satisfying than donating to a "black box" charity or endowment due to the instant gratification of seeing his donation in action.

DrGoogle2017
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by DrGoogle2017 » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:22 pm

I used to donate for years to my graduate and undergraduate schools. No more after the Great Recession. I’m surprised they have not tracked me down yet since I moved.

blevine
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by blevine » Wed Nov 29, 2017 11:56 pm

Regarding Asian donations...
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajen_A._Kilachand

Largest donation in history of Boston Univ from an Indian businessman.

Personally I got absolutely no finaid from my college, paid loans for years, and feel no obligation towards them.

IGWT
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by IGWT » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:06 am

My alma matter asks every quarter saying they have no money, but,

1. They always find money to build new over priced unnecessary buildings with their contractor friends.
2. Sports fields when not needed.
3. Donate indirectly to political causes (state university).
4. Pay speaker fee of $750k for a 1 hour speech of a celebrity (charity event).
5. Pay hard working professors and adjuncts peanuts.

How do I believe them?

Bungo
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by Bungo » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:10 am

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:04 pm
I was on a huge aid package when I attended. So I sort of feel obligated to donate something... But the whole thing rubs me in a weird way. Why don't my high schools or kindergartens ask me for money? Weren't they just as important to my development?
Both my high school (private) and my university (public) ask me for money all the time. I've never donated to either and don't see any reason to do so.

Wricha
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by Wricha » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:44 am

Malcolm Gladwell did a podcast http://revisionisthistory.com/about Season 1 episodes 5 & 6 on funding/donating to college. I thought was very interesting. After you listen it may change your mind where/who should be funded. Worth a listen while driving in car.

Mingus
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by Mingus » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:06 am

daveydoo wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:43 pm
It takes billions in fund-raising to even be a contender
Is that the new term for palm greasing? I wonder what happens when the "fund raising" result turns out other than expected... 8-)

gd
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by gd » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:26 am

dodecahedron wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:36 pm
By the way, college admissions officers pay big fees to consultants who use econometric methods to predict which applicants will be most likely to donate generously after college graduation.
I got a laugh out of this. I went to two very well-known universities, both well funded. Received no aid I didn't give services back for (grad school), and had a surprisingly lackluster experience in both due to being just before major reorganizations. I have never donated any money, never given any encouragement other than once ~25 years ago (and 4-5 moves) gave an address update to stop junk mail to a relative unappreciative of somehow getting mine, unsubscribe from every email I get (from countless sources, official and alumni), have contacted one of them separately to specifically request stopping the flow. It still comes.

daveydoo
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by daveydoo » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:07 pm

Mingus wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:06 am
daveydoo wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:43 pm
It takes billions in fund-raising to even be a contender
Is that the new term for palm greasing? I wonder what happens when the "fund raising" result turns out other than expected... 8-)
It's all advertising budget. Do you have a TV, radio, or computer? You might have seen some of this over the past few years. Pretty sure that bribes aren't campaign line items. And who would they be bribing? Individual voters?

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flamesabers
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by flamesabers » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:16 pm

Da5id wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:16 pm
Interesting how bitter some feel about school. I guess maybe part of why I feel like donating to my graduate school is that it was fully funded and I got a stipend for going :) They don't need the money, but by contributing a modest amount I get the magazine and stay more in touch with things. And as I said upthread, 20 years later I still am a member of a club (which has a large alumni presence) that I go to weekly, so I still feel a strong connection...
I don't feel bitter about school. In fact, I actually enjoyed a lot of the classes I completed in college. However, I don't romanticize my relationship with my college. My college didn't give me an education out of the goodness of their heart. It was a business relationship. My college educated me in exchange for paying their tuition fees.

Imagine if the following organizations started asking their (ex)customers for donations:

*The dealership where you bought your first car.
*The bank that loaned you the mortgage for your current home.
*The dentist office where your kids got their braces.

If it strikes you as bizarre if not tacky for a car dealership, bank or dentist office, etc. to ask you for a donation due to your prior business relationship, then you understand how I feel about donation requests from my alma mater.

Tallis
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by Tallis » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:43 pm

jdb wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:08 pm
OTOH, we give not insubstantial monies to my graduate school, University of Chicago, a private institution which provided me substantial grants and dropped football 80 years ago. Smart decision in my opinion. Each to his or her own. Good luck.
Now, now, the U of C does have a football team, just not a very good one, even for Division III. I remember a fund-raising letter (I'm an undergrad alum) where the athletic director proudly stated that any student at Chicago could play on any varsity team (apparently regardless of talent).

I've contributed small amounts to the University of Chicago for decades, but I'm rethinking my giving because 1) small donations to a large organization make little economic sense, 2) my donations are mostly based on nostalgia, which isn't a valid reason for charitable giving, and 3) a recent e-mail campaign from their development department particularly annoyed me.

Da5id
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by Da5id » Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:48 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:16 pm
Da5id wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 7:16 pm
Interesting how bitter some feel about school. I guess maybe part of why I feel like donating to my graduate school is that it was fully funded and I got a stipend for going :) They don't need the money, but by contributing a modest amount I get the magazine and stay more in touch with things. And as I said upthread, 20 years later I still am a member of a club (which has a large alumni presence) that I go to weekly, so I still feel a strong connection...
I don't feel bitter about school. In fact, I actually enjoyed a lot of the classes I completed in college. However, I don't romanticize my relationship with my college. My college didn't give me an education out of the goodness of their heart. It was a business relationship. My college educated me in exchange for paying their tuition fees.

Imagine if the following organizations started asking their (ex)customers for donations:

*The dealership where you bought your first car.
*The bank that loaned you the mortgage for your current home.
*The dentist office where your kids got their braces.

If it strikes you as bizarre if not tacky for a car dealership, bank or dentist office, etc. to ask you for a donation due to your prior business relationship, then you understand how I feel about donation requests from my alma mater.
Sure I get it. And I don't give to my undergraduate school (which I liked, not loved). But the school where I got my doctorate I wasn't so much a "customer", in that my tuition was covered by grants and I was getting paid a stipend besides. I loved my 6 years there. My social life still in part revolves around a club at that school and that ongoing relationship may be part of why I feel much more connected than many in this thread. But by no means do I think evaluated as a charity based on needs this is the "best" use of my money, the $15B endowment says I'm spitting in the wind. But I still give anyway, because of my strong attachment and affection for the school and its community...

knightrider
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by knightrider » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:17 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:16 pm
If it strikes you as bizarre if not tacky for a car dealership, bank or dentist office, etc. to ask you for a donation due to your prior business relationship, then you understand how I feel about donation requests from my alma mater.
I feel same way too. What makes universities so special? Why do people romanticize their times there? From this thread it seems bogleheads don't donate much. But obviously there are lots of people donating large sums otherwise they wouldn't have those huge endowments..

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JupiterJones
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by JupiterJones » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:42 pm

flyingaway wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:13 pm
a nonprofit university president makes two or three times as much as the U.S. president does
You have to actually be qualified in order to be a university president, so of course it pays more than jobs where they'll take pretty much anybody. :P

But getting back to the OP's question, you donate to a college or university for the same reasons you would donate to any other non-profit entity: Because you can get behind the work they do, have a passion for their mission, and feel like you can help--even in a tiny way--with your donation.

If none of those things apply, then don't give. You certainly don't have to.

Although I will say that pretty much anyone who went to college benefited from the largess of others before them to some degree. That's obvious if scholarships enabled you to attend. But even if you paid "full freight", realize that the bill would've been even higher --and the quality of the education poorer--without the philanthropy of your predecessors.

On the other hand, if you are so soured on your college that you see your education there as merely a quid-pro-quo business transaction with zero philanthropic obligation, no different from buying a candy bar from a vending machine, then that's the fault of the school to a large degree. They've obviously done a pretty lousy job in cultivating a spirit of philanthropy in their students and alumni and in providing the type of education that makes you want to support those who come after you. In other words, if your experience there (and as an alum) hasn't already made the case that they deserve your support, then maybe they don't?
Stay on target...

inbox788
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by inbox788 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:42 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:16 pm
I don't feel bitter about school. In fact, I actually enjoyed a lot of the classes I completed in college. However, I don't romanticize my relationship with my college. My college didn't give me an education out of the goodness of their heart. It was a business relationship. My college educated me in exchange for paying their tuition fees.
Hospitals are the same way with donor walls. A mix between your college and your dentist. I'm sure some of the donors are grateful for services they received at the facility and helping support their mission. A sizable donation to either hospital or college might get you a plaque or brick somewhere. A more sizable donation gets you a wing or building. Don't know if it would make any difference in your future stays.

Prioritizing donations is up to the individual and given the demands for discretionary income, it's not surprising colleges aren't at the top of the list. And as far as a factor in you children being admitted based on donations, unless you're Bill Gates, it probably doesn't matter.

Rightly or wrongly, alumni participation rate does play a role in rankings.
https://www.usnews.com/education/best-c ... mni-donate

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by RadAudit » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:01 pm

I graduated in the bottom half of both my undergrad and graduate classes. I have been one of the lesser lights of the alumni of both institutions. However, I believe that I have benefited immensely from their - perhaps erroneous - decisions to let me out of their schools with a degree.

So, yes. I send them a token amount of money every year.

They tell me they use the funds to help support students who need scholarships. Don't know if it's true. But, if it is - maybe the kids will see fit to help pay something back for the next students in line so perhaps someone else can get the benefit of an education at these institutions.
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by stoptothink » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:02 pm

inbox788 wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:42 pm
And as far as a factor in you children being admitted based on donations, unless you're Bill Gates, it probably doesn't matter.
My uncle isn't remotely Bill Gates, but it is hard to explain how all 4 of his children got into a school when their prep academic credentials were significantly below the median for incoming freshman, and none of them were athletes. Maybe one of them, but all 4? I'm sure the 6-figure donation to the school, which he attended for less than a year a few decades ago but did not receive a degree from, didn't hurt. I briefly was adjunct at said school and have three relatives currently on staff; it isn't a secret, but I can't speak for other institutions.

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by JupiterJones » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:04 pm

knightrider wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:17 pm
flamesabers wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:16 pm
If it strikes you as bizarre if not tacky for a car dealership, bank or dentist office, etc. to ask you for a donation due to your prior business relationship, then you understand how I feel about donation requests from my alma mater.
I feel same way too. What makes universities so special?
Their registration as a 501(c)(3) organization?

If my dentist's office asked me for a donation, it certainly would be tacky and bizarre.

But if I had gone instead to the community health clinic for my dental care, that's another thing entirely, because they're a non-profit. Their entire business model is based on some expectation of philanthropic and/or grant support. Their patients have received a benefit from this business model, so it would make sense for some of those patients to be asked to support it later if they had the means to do so.

It's not bizarre or tacky at all when you are asked to give to the Girl Scouts, or your church, or the United Way. Unless you went to UoP or something, your alma mater* is a non-profit, tax-exempt, charitable organization just like they are. (But as I pointed out in my previous post, if you don't see them in that light, they've seriously dropped the ball somewhere.)

*Okay, technically state schools are different, being partly funded by taxpayer money. But they are typically also supported by a separate foundation, which is actually the non-profit that would be asking you for money.
Stay on target...

wandering_aimlessly
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by wandering_aimlessly » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:43 pm

I give something because both my graduate and undergraduate institutions helped make me who I am...I feel no obligation and do it simply as a token thank you (neither school is made or broken due to my giving or lack thereof). This year I got a really "nice" keychain out of it - I laughed...

an_asker
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by an_asker » Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:57 pm

knightrider wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:51 pm
dodecahedron wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:36 pm
By the way, college admissions officers pay big fees to consultants who use econometric methods to predict which applicants will be most likely to donate generously after college graduation.
Are you sure about this ? A significant percentage of students at top schools are south asian and asians. These types generally come from very frugally minded households and don't donate much. When I look at the list of donors , I rarely see an asian sounding name..
I've been out of academia (as a student) for a while now. Didn't realize that top undergraduate schools in the USA are now dominated by south asians and asians (sic)!

I wonder what proportion of Bogleheads are Asians :-)

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flamesabers
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by flamesabers » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:03 pm

JupiterJones wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:42 pm
But even if you paid "full freight", realize that the bill would've been even higher --and the quality of the education poorer--without the philanthropy of your predecessors.
If this is the case, I consider it an argument that the faculty of a college is severely lacking with good money management skills more then anything else. If colleges were charging their students minimal to no tuition fees, your argument for philanthropy would be far more convincing to me. When students are graduating with astronomical levels of debt, it's hard for me to believe colleges are having revenue problems.
JupiterJones wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:42 pm
On the other hand, if you are so soured on your college that you see your education there as merely a quid-pro-quo business transaction with zero philanthropic obligation, no different from buying a candy bar from a vending machine, then that's the fault of the school to a large degree. They've obviously done a pretty lousy job in cultivating a spirit of philanthropy in their students and alumni and in providing the type of education that makes you want to support those who come after you. In other words, if your experience there (and as an alum) hasn't already made the case that they deserve your support, then maybe they don't?
I'm not soured on my college experience. I do have good memories of my time in college, but all that doesn't change the number one reason why I went to college in the first place. I went to college to study a profession. I don't have a grudge against my college or colleges in general. I just don't see them as selfless charities striving to provide high-quality education at minimal cost to their students.
wandering_aimlessly wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:43 pm
I give something because both my graduate and undergraduate institutions helped make me who I am...I feel no obligation and do it simply as a token thank you (neither school is made or broken due to my giving or lack thereof). This year I got a really "nice" keychain out of it - I laughed...
I got a keychain soon after I graduated. I use it for my garage key. :D

an_asker
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by an_asker » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:05 pm

I don't understand why folks confuse 'not-for-profit' with 'for-charity' or 'for-free' - I've been puzzled by a similar attitude towards Vanguard!

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by an_asker » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:06 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:03 pm
[...]I just don't see them as selfless charities striving to provide high-quality education at minimal cost to their students.[...]
At least someone is on the same page as I am!

knightrider
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by knightrider » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:14 pm

JupiterJones wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 2:04 pm
knightrider wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:17 pm
I feel same way too. What makes universities so special?
Their registration as a 501(c)(3) organization?
My understanding is that non-profits don't have to pay corporate income tax. Everything else is the same as any corporation.

By this fact one can argue that for-profit corporations need your donations more ! They are the ones with the huge tax burden..

From what I am reading in this thread , the only practical reason to donate is if you want to increase the chances of your children getting admission. Even for that, token amounts are not going to cut it. Seems like it needs to be 6 figures...

Admiral
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by Admiral » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm

I am in higher ed and there's a lot of misinformation (or mischaracterizations at least) floating around here.

First, state schools also rely on donations: their funding has been massively curtailed by the gov'ts (Fed and state). How much or by what percentage is not relevant. But they do require donations to operate in the way they should. One example: Pell grants have been cut way back. If you want to attract students who cannot afford tuition, the money has to come from another source. That source is often donations.
And as far as a factor in you children being admitted based on donations, unless you're Bill Gates, it probably doesn't matter.
This is 100% false.
If it strikes you as bizarre if not tacky for a car dealership, bank or dentist office, etc. to ask you for a donation due to your prior business relationship, then you understand how I feel about donation requests from my alma mater.
Comparing higher education to a car dealership is simplistic. Education makes society better. It makes people more productive, allowing them to earn more, and pay higher taxes. Research improves the world. It improves heath outcomes, among a million other things. Where do you think this knowledge comes from? The sky?
It just sickens me to see that universities have been hoarding all this money while demanding more and more from students. Making it so difficult for kids to have a reasonable life once they graduate - let alone plan for proper retirement.
This is, again, not true. Some universities are well endowed. The vast majority are not.

I will not argue the fact that there is an "arms race" among (predominantly more-costly private) universities when it comes to amenities. This is true.

Be that as it may, my school spends more than $100 MILLION per year on tuition assistance for those whose families cannot afford to pay. Where does that money come from? From the endowment, which is supported and grown by donations. We also spend 50 million on increasing the diversity of our faculty. I feel these are worthy goals that deserve support.

Does the school "need" your $50 per year? Well, does the American Red Cross? Or your favorite political party? Lots of large organizations have a lot of money. That doesn't mean that each donation is not important, because in the aggregate they add up

I agree with the poster upthread that I attribute some (not all, perhaps not a lot, but some) of my success to the education I received. If my $500 helps some smart student who could not otherwise attend pay the tuition, that's good enough for me.

jay22
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by jay22 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:09 pm

Last time I got a call for a donation, I told them that I will make a significant donation the day the university starts paying more to the professors than to the football coach.

I am yet to hear back from them.

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flamesabers
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by flamesabers » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:12 pm

knightrider wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:14 pm
From what I am reading in this thread , the only practical reason to donate is if you want to increase the chances of your children getting admission. Even for that, token amounts are not going to cut it. Seems like it needs to be 6 figures...
I'm not sure if even that is a practical reason. Would you (or your children) feel comfortable knowing you got admitted into a school not because of your own merits but because your parents donated a lot of money to the school? :?
Admiral wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm
I am in higher ed and there's a lot of misinformation (or mischaracterizations at least) floating around here.

First, state schools also rely on donations: their funding has been massively curtailed by the gov'ts (Fed and state). How much or by what percentage is not relevant. But they do require donations to operate in the way they should. One example: Pell grants have been cut way back. If you want to attract students who cannot afford tuition, the money has to come from another source. That source is often donations.
What you say here makes me think schools acts like a charity or a business when it best suits them. For instance:

*When schools ask their alma mater for donations, it's because they're providing an education for students who can't afford to pay.

*When schools dramatically raise their tuition rates on their current students, it's to cover rising operating expenses.
Admiral wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm
Comparing higher education to a car dealership is simplistic. Education makes society better. It makes people more productive, allowing them to earn more, and pay higher taxes. Research improves the world. It improves heath outcomes, among a million other things. Where do you think this knowledge comes from? The sky?
I think you're missing the point. The thread isn't about whether a college education is a worthwhile investment or not, it's about the reasons (or lackof) to donate to your alma mater.

If colleges can't exist solely on the revenue they bring in from their current student population, something is seriously wrong with the financial model colleges operate on.
Admiral wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm
I will not argue the fact that there is an "arms race" among (predominantly more-costly private) universities when it comes to amenities. This is true.
I think this is why there is reluctance among some individuals to donate to one's alma mater (or to colleges in general).
Admiral wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm
Be that as it may, my school spends more than $100 MILLION per year on tuition assistance for those whose families cannot afford to pay.
What is that figure per student? $100 million is an impressive amount of money, but if it's for a relatively small number of students all that means is your school charges a very high amount of tuition.
Admiral wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm
Does the school "need" your $50 per year? Well, does the American Red Cross? Or your favorite political party? Lots of large organizations have a lot of money. That doesn't mean that each donation is not important, because in the aggregate they add up
There's a major difference between the American Red Cross and a college. The latter has a supply of customers paying large sums of money every year for its services while the former does not.
Admiral wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm
I agree with the poster upthread that I attribute some (not all, perhaps not a lot, but some) of my success to the education I received. If my $500 helps some smart student who could not otherwise attend pay the tuition, that's good enough for me.
Would you favor donating money to a 3rd party scholarship fund to help out poorer students as opposed to donating straight to a school?

Mingus
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by Mingus » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:21 pm

daveydoo wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:07 pm
Mingus wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:06 am
daveydoo wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:43 pm
It takes billions in fund-raising to even be a contender
Is that the new term for palm greasing? I wonder what happens when the "fund raising" result turns out other than expected... 8-)
It's all advertising budget. Do you have a TV, radio, or computer? You might have seen some of this over the past few years. Pretty sure that bribes aren't campaign line items. And who would they be bribing? Individual voters?
LOL. "Here's a pile of money, for um, advertising. When you win, I look forward to meeting to finish discussing some regulations that would be of a mutual benefit for the both of us if they went through. Don't forget, you're up for re-election in a couple years. I'd hate to have to fund your opponent if we can't make things work". Or they hedge their bets and fund everyone for "advertising".

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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by Da5id » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:26 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:12 pm
Admiral wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm
Be that as it may, my school spends more than $100 MILLION per year on tuition assistance for those whose families cannot afford to pay.
What is that figure per student? $100 million is an impressive amount of money, but if it's for a relatively small number of students all that means is your school charges a very high amount of tuition.
I've had to refrain from responding to some of the comments in these posts, as it is starting to get political.

But as to here, I think that Admiral's argument is circular in a sense. If you start by assuming the current (very high) "rack rate" private college tuition of, say, $45000 is justified, and that the need based discounting offered by the college (which is what finaid is) is socially desirable, OK, sounds like a worthwhile charity. But I remain unconvinced it should cost $45K of tuition/fees to educate an undergraduate. Taj mahal buildings, administrative bloat, etc seem kind of rampant.

And as above, I give to my graduate school because I still am quite associated with them and go there weekly, not because I think evaluated independently it is a needy charity with its ~$15 billion endowment.

inbox788
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by inbox788 » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:37 pm

Admiral wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm
I am in higher ed and there's a lot of misinformation (or mischaracterizations at least) floating around here.
...
And as far as a factor in you children being admitted based on donations, unless you're Bill Gates, it probably doesn't matter.
This is 100% false.
Which part? Are you saying that token donations, moderate donations and/or substantial donations do matter? Are admission committees evaluating alumni parent performance and post graduating giving when an alumni child is involved? And/or that even if Bill Gates donated a building or new campus/program, his children application wouldn't be a factor?

IMO, legacy gets you attention, not preference, except in the most extreme cases, but what do I know? I'm an idealistic outsider. And some schools have so many alumni with children that I wouldn't be surprised if a large fraction of the applicant pool were legacy.

https://thinkprogress.org/why-do-colleg ... abe20407b/
http://www.thecrimson.com/article/2014/ ... he-z-list/

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flamesabers
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by flamesabers » Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:40 pm

Da5id wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:26 pm
And as above, I give to my graduate school because I still am quite associated with them and go there weekly, not because I think evaluated independently it is a needy charity with its ~$15 billion endowment.
When you're still actively involved with your school, I can understand wanting to contribute. In your situation it sounds like your contributions are like an unofficial membership fee. :P

Admiral
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by Admiral » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:06 pm

flamesabers wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:12 pm
knightrider wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:14 pm
From what I am reading in this thread , the only practical reason to donate is if you want to increase the chances of your children getting admission. Even for that, token amounts are not going to cut it. Seems like it needs to be 6 figures...
I'm not sure if even that is a practical reason. Would you (or your children) feel comfortable knowing you got admitted into a school not because of your own merits but because your parents donated a lot of money to the school? :?
Admiral wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm
I am in higher ed and there's a lot of misinformation (or mischaracterizations at least) floating around here.

First, state schools also rely on donations: their funding has been massively curtailed by the gov'ts (Fed and state). How much or by what percentage is not relevant. But they do require donations to operate in the way they should. One example: Pell grants have been cut way back. If you want to attract students who cannot afford tuition, the money has to come from another source. That source is often donations.
What you say here makes me think schools acts like a charity or a business when it best suits them. For instance:

*When schools ask their alma mater for donations, it's because they're providing an education for students who can't afford to pay.

*When schools dramatically raise their tuition rates on their current students, it's to cover rising operating expenses.
Admiral wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm
Comparing higher education to a car dealership is simplistic. Education makes society better. It makes people more productive, allowing them to earn more, and pay higher taxes. Research improves the world. It improves heath outcomes, among a million other things. Where do you think this knowledge comes from? The sky?
I think you're missing the point. The thread isn't about whether a college education is a worthwhile investment or not, it's about the reasons (or lackof) to donate to your alma mater.

If colleges can't exist solely on the revenue they bring in from their current student population, something is seriously wrong with the financial model colleges operate on.
Admiral wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm
I will not argue the fact that there is an "arms race" among (predominantly more-costly private) universities when it comes to amenities. This is true.
I think this is why there is reluctance among some individuals to donate to one's alma mater (or to colleges in general).
Admiral wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm
Be that as it may, my school spends more than $100 MILLION per year on tuition assistance for those whose families cannot afford to pay.
What is that figure per student? $100 million is an impressive amount of money, but if it's for a relatively small number of students all that means is your school charges a very high amount of tuition.
Admiral wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm
Does the school "need" your $50 per year? Well, does the American Red Cross? Or your favorite political party? Lots of large organizations have a lot of money. That doesn't mean that each donation is not important, because in the aggregate they add up
There's a major difference between the American Red Cross and a college. The latter has a supply of customers paying large sums of money every year for its services while the former does not.
Admiral wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:21 pm
I agree with the poster upthread that I attribute some (not all, perhaps not a lot, but some) of my success to the education I received. If my $500 helps some smart student who could not otherwise attend pay the tuition, that's good enough for me.
Would you favor donating money to a 3rd party scholarship fund to help out poorer students as opposed to donating straight to a school?
I don't have time right now to address all your points but I will say that like all large organizations, there is waste in higher ed. I'd point to athletics in particular, but then my school (and my alma mater) are Ivy League and don't spend a large amount of money (proportionally) there.

But...what is "worth."? Worth is what people will pay. Do I think tuition is expensive? Yes. But it was expensive when I went 25 years ago, too. But the value/benefit is lifelong higher earnings. And that not even including the social benefit.

So, back to your main point: should one give? It's certainly an individual decision. People who had a poor experience tend not to give, for obvious reasons. But my point was that donations do support students, and particularly if they are earmarked.

rjbraun
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by rjbraun » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:14 pm

statman wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 4:06 pm
Lots of factors here. I give nothing to Princeton (my alma mater) because they are rich. But we do give to SUNY New Paltz, where my wife (from a very poor family) got an excellent education for very little money. And New Paltz doesn't get the alum donations that Princeton does -- our $150,000 put us in the major donor category.
Nice story. Have you sought to have your gift earmarked for certain projects, etc.? I would think a donation of that magnitude would get the attention of a school like SUNY New Paltz (also of Princeton, at least if it was one check, but perhaps less so).

Pigeye Brewster
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by Pigeye Brewster » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:44 pm

I've donated to my undergrad alma mater every year since I joined the workforce. Fairly small amounts at first, now fairly sizable, at least for me. Why? The college helped change my life (and it's actually one of those included in the Loren Pope book "Colleges That Change Lives"). The first couple of years I mainly coasted but then found my niche with the help of a couple of professors who took an interest and encouraged me. The education I received prepared me incredibly well for both grad school and then my career. So I gladly give, "paying it forward".

But I understand not wanting to give for the reasons listed and respect that choice. My roomie from undergrad is of the "I paid good money and got an education in return and that's it" mindset.

I'm kind of like that with where I went to grad school. I give a nominal amount or not at all depending on my mood.

My wife and I also support a variety of other charitable causes - church, medical, cultural, and basic human services - with both funds and volunteer time. Why? Because we want to help others and we're in a position to do so.

jdb
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by jdb » Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:49 pm

Tallis wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:43 pm
jdb wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:08 pm
OTOH, we give not insubstantial monies to my graduate school, University of Chicago, a private institution which provided me substantial grants and dropped football 80 years ago. Smart decision in my opinion. Each to his or her own. Good luck.
Now, now, the U of C does have a football team, just not a very good one, even for Division III. I remember a fund-raising letter (I'm an undergrad alum) where the athletic director proudly stated that any student at Chicago could play on any varsity team (apparently regardless of talent).

I've contributed small amounts to the University of Chicago for decades, but I'm rethinking my giving because 1) small donations to a large organization make little economic sense, 2) my donations are mostly based on nostalgia, which isn't a valid reason for charitable giving, and 3) a recent e-mail campaign from their development department particularly annoyed me.
Good points, didn’t mean to overlook the Division 3 Maroons. But Chicago puts football and athletics in general in proper perspective, they pay their eminent professors and teachers more than their coaches. Interestingly, Chicago had a stellar record as a founding member of Big Ten Conference under Amos Alonzo Stagg with two national football championships and the first Heisman Trophy winner, still the only Division IA football team with winning record against Notre Dame (Chicago never lost). But Robert Hutchins felt football and adulation accorded athletes inconsistent with academic purpose and dropped football program along with fraternities (another Huzzah from me, a former fraternity member at Big 10 school who thought the whole scene was like the later classic movie Animal House). Anyway, my point is that college athletics seem to be taking over at too many state schools and some private schools (looking at you, Duke, with your basketball program), they are spending far more money on coaches and stadiums and arenas instead of focusing on the professors and teachers and students, and I for one would never donate to University which paid its football or basketball coach 10X what it pays its best professors and teachers. Just my two cents.
Edit: and undoubtedly by far best and most momentous use every made of a college football stadium was underneath bleachers of Stagg Field at University of Chicago 75 years ago this month when team led by Enrico Fermi engineered first sustainable nuclear reaction, which led in less than 3 years to the surrender of Japan and end of World War II. On a personal level my father then stationed in Philippines at time of surrender was scheduled to participate with his infantry division in the planned assault on the Japanese mainland, lucky for him and hundreds of thousands of other American soldiers was able to end his military career and go home.
Last edited by jdb on Sat Dec 02, 2017 8:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

daveydoo
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma matter?

Post by daveydoo » Thu Nov 30, 2017 11:10 pm

Mingus wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 4:21 pm
daveydoo wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 12:07 pm
Mingus wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 5:06 am
daveydoo wrote:
Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:43 pm
It takes billions in fund-raising to even be a contender
Is that the new term for palm greasing? I wonder what happens when the "fund raising" result turns out other than expected... 8-)
It's all advertising budget. Do you have a TV, radio, or computer? You might have seen some of this over the past few years. Pretty sure that bribes aren't campaign line items. And who would they be bribing? Individual voters?
LOL. "Here's a pile of money, for um, advertising. When you win, I look forward to meeting to finish discussing some regulations that would be of a mutual benefit for the both of us if they went through. Don't forget, you're up for re-election in a couple years. I'd hate to have to fund your opponent if we can't make things work". Or they hedge their bets and fund everyone for "advertising".
I don't understand your comment. I know why people donate -- because they believe in a candidate or because they believe that they can buy influence. For corporate donors, it's usually the latter; many support candidates that they don't believe in at all. No kidding. But the money gets spent by the campaign and it gets spent on advertising -- billions of dollars. Not sure why this is unclear. You can't win without advertising. You think they pretend-spend on advertising? :oops: [I've never used one of these]. The simple point was that no one runs for President for the $400K salary when the campaign alone costs billions. Your comments have nothing to do with this point. And if you want to cry corruption all the time, it's helpful to understand how corruption works.

JW-Retired
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Re: Why should I donate to my alma mater?

Post by JW-Retired » Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:45 am

I don't. Even at the time long ago I thought that University squandered money. Always felt like the Profs ought to teach more than 1 class (or sometimes not even that).

We do donate to the little Junior College that got me (and wife) started toward satisfying careers. They seem to appreciate it and I'm betting that their need is greater. Also, I'm very satisfied that they don't send me endless begging junk mail like the University keeps hemorrhaging. :D
JW
Retired at Last

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