Endowments

Endowment gifts provide a solid foundation upon which the University continues to reach for and maintain excellence across our campus. Ongoing endowment earnings play a sizeable role in supporting the University’s mission of education, research, and community engagement. Endowed funds provide support for scholarships, chairs, professorships, lectures, research, academic programs, community outreach, the arts, museums, libraries, gardens, public broadcasting, and a variety of other programs and purposes.

Frequently asked questions about endowments:

An endowment is a gift that is invested in perpetuity or for a specific number of years.  Only a portion of the interest earned is used to support the endowment’s purpose.  Excess income is reinvested in the endowment to grow the fund and protect it from inflationary pressures.  Thus, endowments provide perpetual support that strengthens the vitality of the University of Utah far into the future.
An endowment may be created with an outright gift, a pledge over a few years, or with a gift from your estate or other charitable gift plan.  Because of the perpetual nature of an endowment, a written gift agreement or provision in your will or trust is the best way to ensure that the purpose of the fund is clear.  If you want to create an endowment during your lifetime, the University can assist you in preparing a gift agreement that defines the purpose of the fund.  If you want to include a gift for an endowment in your estate plans, it is best to contact a member of the University’s planned giving team to ensure that your gift will meet the minimum gift requirement and your wishes can be honored.

Depending on the purpose of the endowment, the University has established minimum gift amounts that will provide an appropriate level of annual support.  A general support or scholarship endowment can be established with a minimum gift of $25,000.  Fellowships, professorships, chairs, and other program-specific endowments have higher minimum gift requirements. Contact the Development Office for additional information about minimum gift thresholds.

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As the donor, you decide the purpose for the fund you create, however the purpose must further the mission of the University and be compatible with established laws, as well as University policies. Whether the purpose is for scholarships, fellowships, professorships, chairs, program or operational support, research, or some other purpose, the University prefers fewer restrictions to allow for flexibility in the use of the endowment over time.
The University provides an annual report to the original donor or others designated by the donor who may have a particular interest in the impact of the endowment.
Once you have established an endowment, you or others may continue to make additional contributions to the endowment. Additional gifts may also be made through your estate plans.

The University has more than 1,800 endowed funds. In order to effectively manage these funds over many years, the University combines the assets into an endowment pool, with each endowment fund owning shares in the pool. The University strives to meet two goals when managing the endowment pool. First, to provide a steady stream of income to help support the current endeavors of the University. Second, to maintain the purchasing power of the endowment funds to ensure that the same endeavors will continue to be supported in perpetuity. The objective is to balance these distinct goals over a long-term horizon.

For more information about the University’s investment practices, visit the Investment Management Office website.

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In the spirit of many campus initiatives to promote sustainability, donors may choose to have their endowment gift invested in the Social Choice Fund. Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) is an investment process that considers the social and environmental consequences of investments, both positive and negative, within the context of rigorous financial analysis.

The equity portion of the Social Choice Pool excludes companies operating in the tobacco, alcohol, firearms, gambling, military weapons, and nuclear power industries. The remaining companies are then considered based on qualitative factors including: community relations, corporate governance, workforce diversity, employee relations, environmental stewardship, human rights, and product safety.

For more information, visit the University’s Investment Management Office website or contact the Development Office.

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