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An endowment is a gift held in perpetuity and invested by the Foundation. The principal remains intact while a percentage of the earned income is used to support the program(s) designated by the donors. Not only do endowments contribute a reliable source of income to the University, a major personal benefit to the donor(s) is the satisfaction that the original gift is never depleted, but will always exist to support the program(s) of choice. Additionally, endowments afford wonderful opportunities for named gifts in honor of a loved one, friend, favorite professor, or other special person or interest.
Every year, in accordance with its payout policy, the UW Foundation distributes millions of dollars to the university for expenditures such as student assistance, faculty support, library acquisitions, academic program support, and building/equipment purchases and maintenance. Payouts are weighted 60% by the previous year's payout adjusted for inflation and 40% by a 4% payout of the current market value of each endowment fund as of December 31 of the previous year. This policy resulted from a careful review of models used by Yale, Stanford, and other major higher education institutions and is designed to smooth year-to-year variations in market performance so that the colleges and units within the university are able to budget more accurately with a predictable and reliable source of funding.
During 2011, the number of endowments reached 1,255 funds. As of December 31, 2011, the pooled fund had grown to over $299.2 million, an increase of $45 million since December 31, 2009. For additional information on endowments, please contact Mary Ann Garman, Treasurer/CFO.