Following years of exploration and study, the Executive Board of the General Alumni Association carried out the charge handed them at the May 1984 meeting of the general membership. In June 1985 the former General Alumni Association (GAA) became the General Alumni Association of Fisk University, Incorporated (GAAFU, Inc.).
Prior to adoption of the final draft of the bylaws at the May 11, 1985 general membership meeting, the proposed bylaws were widely circulated throughout the nation to GAA regional officers who obtained input from members and club presidents. The Board of Trustees and the president of Fisk University also reviewed several drafts prior to the Board of Trustees’ unanimous approval and endorsement at their May 10, 1985 meeting.
Among the advantages afforded the organization as a nonprofit entity is the ability to solicit additional financial support for the University and to increase the active involvement of Fiskites via expanded participation at the national level.
At the 1999 Biennial Convention the Association increased annual membership dues at $50. Life membership dues are $750. The dues fund the annual operation of the alumni program. Prior to the Association’s incorporation, the University totally funded the operation of the Association and the Alumni Office. The Association’s incorporation produced a dues system, which eventually augmented the alumni program, including the Fisk News and the Annual Fund. All money raised by the Association in the Annual Fund is given to the University.
The Annual dues are specifically used to:
- operate Alumni Annual Fund drives
- fund the Alumni Office operation (minus salaries, telephones and some postage)
- fund the Class Reunion program and activities, including all gratuities to Golden Sons and Daughters
- fund publications
- fund all travel expenses of the Alumni Director
- fund membership and board development programs and activities
In November 1987, the Association undertook a $2 million campaign over four years. A total of $2 million was raised and presented to the University. All goals were successfully surpassed.
During fiscal year 1994-95, for the first year in the history of Fisk University, alumni contributed more than one million dollars to the University. This amount included several sizable bequests from deceased alumni who remembered the University in their wills. The total contributed was over $1 million.
The Association totally funded the restoration of the Richardson House in 1989 and maintains it out of alumni dues.