Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why does California State University Maritime Academy have a separate charitable foundation?

A: California Maritime Academy Foundation (CMAF) is the philanthropic arm of Cal Maritime. Its mission is to solicit, manage and distribute charitable contributions for the benefit of the Academy. The Foundation is a charitable organization as defined by Section 501-C-3 of the federal tax code. Charitable gifts made to §501-C-3 organizations are tax deductible as allowed by law. CMAF is the only Cal Maritime entity that is permitted to provide a receipt for the tax deduction.

The State of California is forbidden by law from dealing in equities. As a result, the Foundation receives and manages gifts donated to the endowment pool (endowments buy and sell equities). Finally, Cal Maritime's yacht donation program receives the donated yachts, which then become the property of the CMAF and, therefore, not subject to the restrictive rules governing the acquisition and sale of state property.


Q: How is the Foundation Organized?

A: The CMA Foundation is organized as a State of California non-profit corporation. It is registered as a 501-C-3 tax deductible charitable organization in the federal tax code, identifying it as an organization that accepts tax deductible contributions.


Q: How does the Foundation pay for the expenses of raising money?

A: CSU Foundations pay for fundraising expenses using three or four methods. Most pay for the salaries and benefits of Advancement staff from the campus budget. By state law, campus budgets cannot pay for direct fundraising expenses.

Campuses may take a small portion of the annual return on their endowments to fund foundation operations, or use income from for-profit enterprises, such as bookstores or real estate. All levee a fee on gifts. The CMA Foundation endowment is too small to serve as the full source of operating support, and funds its operations from unrestricted revenue and by placing a charge on all non-scholarship gifts.


Q: What is the percentage currently charged on gifts?

A: As of July 2020, the Directors of the California Maritime Academy Foundation have elected to levy a 5% fee on all gifts. A portion of the fee is used to support students, faculty, and staff, as well as to support CMAF operations.The fee is reviewed on an annual basis and is increased or decreased as needed for the prudent management of the Foundation.


Q: What is the value of the Foundation's endowment and what does it do?

A: As of February 29, 2020, the value of the endowment was $10.9 million. The endowment is comprised of gifts donors have designated for the endowment, as well as some funds designated by the Foundation’s Board. The current spend policy provides that up to 4% of the annual investment return may be withdrawn to fund endowment purposes, with the remainder reinvested. New endowment gifts and annual investment growth combined contribute to investment growth. The endowment is professionally managed and overseen by the Finance Committee of the Foundation Board. The various restricted endowments in the pool, as well as the Foundation’s unrestricted endowment, together provide financial benefits to all aspects of university life.


Q: What is the difference between a restricted and unrestricted gift?

A: All gifts to the Foundation are either restricted or unrestricted. As the name implies, restricted gifts are donated for a specific project or purpose. Unrestricted gifts arrive without designation and can be assigned by the Foundation, in consultation with the Cal Maritime President, to where they are deemed to be most needed.


Q: What is the relationship between Cal Maritime and the Foundation?

A: The Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Cal Maritime. The Foundation's mission is to support the mission, vision, and priorities of Cal Maritime. The Foundation houses and supports the Alumni Association and manages the Endowment. The Vice President for University Advancement serves as the Executive Director of the Foundation. The wages and benefits of the University Advancement Staff are paid by the University.


Q: What is the difference between a campus "auxiliary" and the Foundation?

A: The California State University uses "auxiliary" organizations to manage activities that, for legal and practical reasons, are judged to be best kept separate from the activities of the "campus." Auxiliaries are used to manage book stores, build student housing, even to develop sophisticated sports facilities. California Maritime Academy Foundation is an approved CSU auxiliary. The Cal Maritime Associated Students is also a Cal Maritime auxiliary.


Q: Does the Foundation have members?

A: The Foundation is not a member organization. All decisions about the work of the Foundation are made by the Board of Directors.


Q: How are members of the board selected?

A: Current members of the Board of Directors submit the names of candidates who have the skills and backgrounds to help the Foundation meet its identified goals. Names are submitted directly to the Foundation Governance Committee. The committee chooses the final candidates to fill the open board seats based on the current board profile and needs. A member of the committee approaches the final candidates to assess their interest, abilities, and willingness to serve. The governance committee presents the list of candidates to the full board for their final approval at the annual board meeting.


Q: What is the relationship between the Foundation and the Alumni Association?

A: In 2007 the Cal Maritime Alumni Association was dissolved as an independent organization and formally became part of Foundation. The Foundation underwrites the annual operating budget of the Alumni Association.


Q: What is the financial oversight of the Foundation?

A: The Foundation is audited annually by an independent accounting firm chosen by the Foundation audit committee. The results of the audit are reviewed by the Audit Committee and submitted to the Finance Committee and Board for final approval. The Foundation is periodically audited by the CSU to assure that it is in compliance with all state and federal guidelines. In addition, the Chief Financial Officer of the Academy is mandated to sit as a board member of the Foundation and reviews its financial reports. The Foundation and the University share the time of the University controller. That controller reports to the CMAF Executive Director on related activities.


Q: What is the Yacht Donation Program?

A: The Foundation accepts charitable donations of sail and motor yachts both for use and sale. Yachts are accepted for the immediate use of the Cal Maritime sailing team and/or the instructional programs. Yachts are also made available for charter. Monthly charter income goes directly to the Foundation as does the revenue when the yachts are sold. The Yacht Donation Program will not accept wooden yachts, yachts over a certain age, nor will it enter into "bargain sale" arrangements with donors.

Funds generated by the yacht donation program underwrite a portion of the cadet large boat sailing program, scholarships, and other campus needs.


Q: What are some examples of Foundation projects?

A: Every aspect of University life benefits from the work of the Foundation. View a list of specific ways to support the University, including individual projects.


Q: I have a question that's not on this list. How can I get the answer?

A: Please contact Jennifer Radics-Johnson at (707) 654-1104.