Frequently Asked Questions about the Besal Fund

  • Q: What is an endowment?

    A: That part of an institution’s income that is derived by donations. This can "endow" an activity or process, or be given to others.
  • Q: What is a scholarship?

    A: A sum of money given to a student to defray part or all of the cost of a college education.

    • It does not have to be repaid.
    • It does not produce anything; essentially it funds a process.
    • It can be either "need-based" or "merit-based".
    • It can be specific to one university, or be state-wide, national or inter-national in its scope. It can be given by civic, government or private organizations.
  • Q: What does an "endowment" and "scholarships" have to do with the Besal Fund?

    A: The Besal Fund is a private entity, in this case a stand-alone, nonprofit organization whose endowment exists for the sole purpose of offering scholarships to high-achieving (merit-based) college students who study lighting sciences.
  • Q: What is an Endowed Fund?

    A: This is an amount of money that is invested specifically to produce income that will be spent in a pre-specified way. This Fund can be incorporated in such a way as to be considered a nonprofit organization. Among other things, this means that most contributions to it are tax deductible.
  • Q: When and why was the Robert J. Besal Scholarship Fund created?

    A: It was created in 1983 to honor the memory of the late Robert J. Besal, a Lithonia Lighting Vice President.

    • It only does one thing: award merit-based scholarships (academic achievement) to students who study lighting.
    • The endowment fund is managed by an agent committee. This committee includes both Acuity Brands Lighting Managers and Sales Agency Principals.
    • This committee is actively reviewing the current structure to consider changes that will allow reach to a broader constituency and elevate the Fund’s profile.
  • Q: How can a school or university become "qualified" as a Besal Fund school?

    A: Schools are accepted for accreditation as a Besal Fund school by promoting and educating students in the study of light and design. To qualify, schools must submit an application for acceptance that is reviewed and voted upon by the Besal Fund Board of Directors.
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Acuity Brands Lighting
One Lithonia Way
Conyers, GA 30012

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