The Ferris Foundation is governed by a board of directors of at least 13 and a maximum of 40 members. The board is self-sustaining, with members selected for three-year terms by existing directors on recommendation of a board nominating committee. The chair of the University's board of trustees appoints one director, and the immediate past president of the Ferris State Alumni Association may also serve a one-year term. The President of the University (who is a voting director) may directly appoint as many as five directors, but not to exceed fifteen percent of the total membership. The University's board of trustees reviews and approves the nominations of those proposed as directors.
The Executive Director of the Foundation is the Vice President for University Advancement & Marketing, a senior executive officer of the University, and is appointed by Ferris State's president. The Foundation's treasurer is appointed by the President of the University from the University's Office of Administration & Finance. The Treasurer acts as the business agent of the Ferris Foundation's accounts and investments. The Secretary of the Foundation is elected from the membership of the Board of Directors.
The Board of Directors serves the Foundation through four working committees: Development [fund raising], Investment, Audit, and Gifts & Grants. Typically, a director serves on one committee, though there is an open option to serve on an additional committee, if the director prefers. Each committee is supported by the Executive Director and university staff. The Board meets its fiduciary responsibilities and expectations for the performance of the Foundation through the several standing committees. The Executive Director provides leadership for the daily business of the Foundation and has duties and responsibilities normally associated with those of the chief executive officer of a not-for-profit corporation, interacting regularly and broadly with members of the Board of Directors.
The meeting schedule of the Foundation has recently been reviewed and revised to facilitate the building of a strong board and to make the conduct of the meetings both efficient and effective. The current calendar calls for two general meetings of the Foundation directors. The first is a three-five hour meeting scheduled for mid-March to deal with the general business of the Foundation, much of which is generated by the work and recommendations of committees. The meeting may also deal with special initiatives related to annual planning decisions. The second meeting is defined as the annual meeting, reflecting the requirements of the by-laws, and is scheduled for mid-October. Its agenda structure calls for convening at noon on a Friday and continuing through the afternoon and through dinner. The meeting reconvenes on Saturday morning and concludes at noon on Saturday. The meeting has a general business component, but much of it is dedicated to strategic planning and aligning special Foundation efforts with University priorities.