Office of Donor Relations

Our Two Favorite Words Are Thank You.

About the Office of Donor Relations & Stewardship

We believe in the power of gratitude. We foster deeper relationships by demonstrating appreciation for the difference our donors make every single day.

Our goal is to proactively and intentionally remind our donors, big and small, that they are essential to the SMU family. Our donors can count on us for timely acknowledgments, accurate reporting, and appropriate recognition.

Frequently Asked Questions

There are many ways to give to SMU! SMU can receive gifts via our website, phone, mail, or wire. For information on these and other ways to give, please click HERE. If these options do not meet your needs or you need additional help, please contact gifts@smu.edu.

Gifts in memory, honor, or celebration are collectively referred to as “Tribute Gifts.” For more information on making tribute gifts, please visit the Donor Relations tribute page HERE.

In September 2021, the University embarked on our next big step through SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow our multiyear, $1.5 billion campaign to propel us in our mission to empower students, enrich teaching and research, and enhance our campus and community. Click HERE to learn more about the priorities of SMU Ignited: Boldly Shaping Tomorrow.

To learn more about endowments at SMU or for assistance understanding your endowment report, please contact Donor Relations or visit Endowment FAQs HERE.

SMU has 3 public giving societies: the Hilltop Society, President’s Associates, and the Dallas Hall Society (for planned gift donors). For more information, click HERE.

The Office of Donor Relations and Stewardship recognizes gifts that have a charitable component. Eligible gifts at various levels receive acknowledgment postcards, letters, or other specialized stewardship.

Skybox leases and the base Mustang Athletic Fund have Fair Market Value (FMV) and may not be considered charitable contributions. Donors who make payments to these will be sent a receipt with any Fair Market Value of the goods they have received in exchange for the payment deducted from their charitable amount.

Eligible gifts made through Donor Advised Funds (DAFs) receive acknowledgments but are receipted directly to the DAF administrator and not the donor themselves. SMU is not able to provide receipts to donors who give through DAFs.

All other contributions to SMU, including those above that have FMV, are receipted by the Office of Gift Processing. To contact Gift Processing to make a gift, ask for a new receipt, or more, please email gifts@smu.edu or contact Donor Relations.

Paying Tribute

SMU’s proud tradition of honoring those who impact the lives of others dates back to our founding. Our first building, the iconic Dallas Hall, was named to recognize the significant efforts of the citizens of Dallas who provided initial funding for the University in the heart of this thriving city.

This tradition remains alive today.

You can celebrate the lives and moments that most impacted your life with a gift to SMU in their honor or memory.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Tribute Questions

For more information, please contact Erin Jines, Director of Leadership and Affinity Giving, at: ejines@smu.edu.

Centennial Pavers can be found by using the button above “Find My Centennial Paver”. If you are still unable to find your paver, need additional assistance, or have questions about Friends of Libraries pavers, please contact Jill Rogers, Assistant Director of Naming Opportunities, at: jillr@smu.edu.

Limited naming opportunities are available in the Centennial Reading Room and other areas on campus. For more information, contact Jill Rogers at: jillr@smu.edu.

It is important to contact Donor Relations or email gifts@smu.edu prior to asking for memorial gifts from friends and family so we can ensure funds are directed into the correct account.

When requesting memorial gifts in an obituary, SMU recommends using the following language:

The family requests that memorial gifts be made in support of the [specified fund] at SMU. Checks made payable to “SMU” can be mailed to:

SMU Office of Development

c/o Gift Processing
PO Box 750402
Dallas TX 75275-0402

Or you may make a gift online at giving.smu.edu. Please indicate that the gift is in memory of [name] by writing a memo on your check or marking the “in memory of” box when making a gift online.

Donor Relations notifies designated family or friends when a gift is made in their loved one’s memory. If an honorary gift is made, we notify the honoree directly. If you have questions about tribute notifications, please contact Ryan Garrett at: rmgarrett@smu.edu.

Endowments

The SMU Endowment was established in 1914 with a gift of $111,540 from the General Education Board of The Methodist Church. The Endowment now represents over $2 billion in assets that are invested in a diversified portfolio designed to ensure current support as well as growth for the future.

Investment in the SMU Endowment provides long-term funding to enhance student quality, faculty and academic excellence, and the campus experience. Annual income from the Endowment provides vital support for the University.

To impact the lives of students tomorrow, consider a gift to the SMU Endowment today.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Endowment Questions

An endowment fund is a fund created to provide support for SMU in perpetuity. The amount donated, also known as the principal or corpus, is not spent. It is invested and only the earnings from the investments of the endowment principal are available for spending. The original gift continues to grow and produce higher income over time.

Under the direction of the Southern Methodist University Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees, the Investments Office manages the $2 billion endowment, including minerals and other Planned Giving Assets of the University.

The current policy has been in effect since the fiscal year 2005 and is based on a model used by Yale University. The spending formula includes both an inflation component that places an emphasis on stable budget support and a market value component that responds to changes in portfolio valuations. The latter includes the current spending percentage of 4.5 percent, approved by the SMU Board of Trustees, applied to a four-quarter average of trailing market value.

SMU has three primary goals with regard to its spending policy: maintain the endowment’s real purchasing power, minimize the year-to-year volatility to aid in budget planning, and support the University’s educational goals by releasing a substantial and sustainable flow of funds to the operating budget.

SMU’s fiscal year is June 1 through May 31.

Only 15% of the University’s operating budget is funded by income from the endowment.

Book Value is the initial amount of the gift that established an endowment, plus any additional gifts or deposits (reinvested income). Market Value is the total of the Book Value plus net market appreciation/depreciation valued at the end of a given time period.

Generally, new funds are established when a donor and the University enter into an endowment agreement. Occasionally, endowment funds are established through a bequest, annuity, or trust.   Please contact the Office of Donor Relations and Stewardship for more information or if you are interested in establishing a new endowed fund. Learn more.

Most of SMU’s endowment is restricted and can only be used for specific purposes set forth by the donor(s).
Unrestricted gifts to SMU’s endowment have the greatest impact on the University.

Often, new donors will give to endowments previously established by others.  To find out which fund provides income for a desired purpose, please contact the Office of Donor Relations. Learn more.

How Can We Help You Today?

Rachel Kimball
Rachel KimballDirector of Donor Relations & Stewardship
Ask me about: General Questions, Strategic Planning, University-Wide Stewardship, Policies/Guidelines
Ryan Garrett
Ryan GarrettStewardship Communications Manager
Ask me about: Acknowledgments, Impact Reporting, Communications, Thankview
Carey Garrett
Carey GarrettAssistant Director of Donor Relations - Stewardship
Ask me about: Mustang Award, Recognition Societies, Custom Stewardship, Event Commemoration, Special Projects
Jill Rogers
Jill RogersAssistant Director of Donor Relations – Naming Opportunities and Recognition
Ask me about: Tributes, Plaques, Naming Opportunities, Donor Lists
Tessa Schreiner
Tessa SchreinerAssistant Director of Donor Relations – Scholarship Stewardship
Ask me about: Scholarships and Scholarship Spending Compliance
Ashley Park
Ashley ParkAssistant Director of Donor Relations – Endowment Manager
Ask me about: Endowment Funds, Endowment Reporting, Spending Compliance
Carrie Marquis
Carrie MarquisDonor Relations Specialist
Ask me about: General Questions
Jordan Hardin
Jordan HardinFund Stewardship Coordinator
Ask me about: Endowments, Reporting and Donor Spending Compliance

For general questions about your gift, recognition or stewardship, contact us at donorrelations@smu.edu or 214-768-4071.