Posted by Wes Brooks on Jun 04, 2018
President Paula Brahan presided over today’s meeting. Gene Owens gave today’s invocation and Mallory Donald led us in the Pledge of Allegiance. Thanks to Mark Killingsworth who served as our greeter today.
Mike Ratliff then introduced today’s guests. Brandon Knight is visiting with Katie Anthony. Brandon is a potential member. Mike Ratliff has his wife Consuelo as his guest. Jerry Gilder has his wife, Nancy, his daughter, Chrissy, and Chrissy’s husband, Josh Deanson as his guests today. Marc McMillian is a visitor of Steve Ramp.
Carol Russell has submitted a membership application which is now being considered.
Paula recognized Michael McPhail who received the New Comer of the Year award from the Pine Belt Young Professionals. It was also noted that Steven Utroska was also nominated for that award this year as well. Rotarian Greg Garraway was recognized for his long-time support of the Young Professional organization.
Rotarians who are serving on the 100th Centennial Celebration Committee are asked to plan and stay after next week’s meeting.
Denny Bubrig announced that the Polo shirt and hat designs have been finalized. Colors will be determined by a majority of those who order products. He noted that a minimum order of 15 is needed to place an order. Sign-up sheets were passed around for members to indicate which products they would be interested in. Polo shirts will sell for $30 while the hats will cost $15.
Shane Germany then introduced today’s guest speaker, Megan Burkes who is the Associate Director of Public Relations and Donor Programs at the University of Southern Mississippi. She came today to talk to us about the USM Foundation.
The Foundation was established in 1959. Rotarian Paul Ogletree was one of two founding members. It is one of four non-profit organizations on the campus and serves as the fiduciary agent and main fundraising unit for the University. It is governed by a local board of directors.
In 2017 the Foundation provided $8.9 million in support to the University. A major portion of that, $3.8 million, was in the form of financial aid to 2,133 students. Students can now apply online for scholarships through the Gold Opportunities program. The applications are then matched with potential grants. The grants are then decided by committees in each area. Grant recipients are featured on a regular basis through Facebook feeds, Twitter posts and on the Foundation’s website.
Another major source of income for Foundation is through the endowment program. A fund can be endowed with a minimum $25,000 contribution. Donors can make contributions toward the endowment over a four year period. The Foundation’s endowment value now stands at more than $20 million. There were 743 fully funded endowments in 2010 and by 2016 that number had grown to 866. There is a 1.75% annual administrative fee charged to endowments. They try to award 4% of the endowment’s earnings each year in scholarships.
Megan says the Foundation looks at a variety of ways it can generate support and interest to as many people and companies as possible. They have found success recently in their crowdfunding efforts. Students are much more likely to make a smaller contribution to a tangible project. The Eagle Fever online fundraising tool has generated about $55,000 in just the last year. You can see how the crowdfunding system works by visiting
To learn more about the Foundation and how you can get involved. you can visit You can email Megan at or she can be reached by phone at 601-266-6298.
With no other business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned by Paula with our motto, “Service Above Self.”