The Ferris Foundation was established in May 1991 by the Ferris State University Board of Control [subsequently known as the Board of Trustees] as the successor organization to the Ferris State University Alumni Foundation. The Ferris Foundation was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation to manage assets contributed by non-public sources-individuals, foundations, corporations-for the benefit of Ferris State University. The Action recognized the importance of building independent resources to strengthen Ferris' varied operations and its ability to offer student opportunity in an era of contracting, public, legislated support of higher education. The step also affirmed the growing importance of securing the integrity of private gifts, with their use consistent with the intent of donors. The Ferris Foundation was charged in its charter with cooperating with the University on fund raising initiatives intended to expand annual gift support; gifts and pledges for capital projects; and gifts involving annuities, trusts, and estate commitments.
The Foundation was restructured in 1996 to improve the effectiveness of operating and oversight committees, to define investment and endowment spending policies, and to articulate University-Foundation staff services and relations.