Publications & Products
Endowments: Where Does the Money Go?

Endowments support students and their families by investing charitable donations given to support high-quality, affordable and accessible education. This is a critical point that can be difficult to translate when talking to policymakers and the general public about endowed funds. As we seek to debunk the many myths about endowments, advancement professionals can leverage data and storytelling to connect the dots between gifts and beneficiaries.

How, for example, do endowed funds financially support students? According to the 2018 Voluntary Support of Education survey 38 percent of the $11.38 billion of the new gifts to respondents' endowments last year was restricted to student financial aid. Once invested, a portion of an endowment is spent annually to fulfill its charitable purpose of supporting high-quality, affordable and accessible education. Responses to the 2018 NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments indicate that "on average, schools used 49 percent of their total endowment withdrawals to support student scholarships and other financial aid programs, and 16% for academic tutoring and other related functions."

Institutions already tell great stories about the life-changing learning experiences and life-saving research. Connecting these stories to the charitable gifts that helped make them possible helps advancement professionals change the conversation around endowments with students, donors, policymakers, the general public and other stakeholders..

To complement VSE survey data, CASE is collecting examples of how schools highlight the importance of charitable giving and endowments. As we look to transform the conversation, we hope to hear from institutions about what has (and has not) worked when it comes to communicating endowments and showcasing the real-world impact of giving.

We encourage you to share your expertise with us by filling out the Resource Submissions Form on our endowments resource page. Visit our endowments resource page for talking points, a sample collection and to send us your stories.

This article is from the February 2019 BriefCASE issue.

Member Profile: Carrie White

Carrie White is vice president of advancement services at the University of Cincinnati Foundation.

Carrie White is vice president of advancement services at the University of Cincinnati Foundation.

Read more