Two new avenues for giving announced for MSU donors


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Posted: 9/19/2008


The Mississippi State University Foundation now has two new ways to support the institution, both dealing with real estate and timberland.

Assets of real property may be given for charitable purposes through either the Bulldog Properties or Bulldog Forest programs. Both offers benefits to donors, including the designation of support to a specific academic college or other area on campus.

"The new focus on real estate assets is a natural progression in the foundation's growth," said John P. Rush, MSU's vice president for development and alumni. "Bulldog Properties and Bulldog Forest enable us to become more proactive in assisting alumni and friends who are interested in making a significant charitable gift through methods other than outright gifts."

Rush said, among others, types of real estate gifts include:

  • Residential homes;
  • Vacation homes and condominiums;
  • Timberland and recreational property;
  • Agricultural, commercial, investment, and undeveloped property; and
  • Mineral interests.

"As much as 50 percent of the assets of an individual's wealth commonly are held in real estate," said Bo Hemphill, the foundation's executive director of development. "It is our hope that this often overlooked method of giving will allow donors to transform their real assets into meaningful gifts for Mississippi State."

As part of the organization's expanded mission, veteran fundraisers Jud Skelton and Jeff Little are assuming additional administrative roles. Skelton directs the Bulldog Properties program, while Little coordinates Bulldog Forest.

Both fundraisers will continue in their respective roles as development directors for the colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Forest Resources. Skelton joined the university's fundraising team in 2001; Little, in 2004.

"We have great confidence in Jud and Jeff because of the practical knowledge and experience they have gained through the years in steering these types of gifts within their colleges," Hemphill said.

Donors who choose to support Mississippi State through gifts of real estate may benefit in a variety of ways. In addition to lifetime incomes, they eliminate the burden of ownership and gain certain tax advantages.

Donating timberland to Mississippi State's Bulldog Forest program also allows donors to leave a lasting legacy in their family's name. Properties may be held for an extended period of time, with funds generated from timber sales, hunting leases, oil and gas leases, conservation programs and assessments, and other means being used by the university for donor-specified charitable purposes.

The MSU Foundation was established in 1962 to receive, invest and administer private support consistent with the land-grant institution's priorities and mission. Its endowment currently stands at $280 million.

For details about the new giving programs, contact Skelton at; Little, at

Deans Office