Q: What is an endowment fund?
A: An endowment is a permanent, self sustaining fund. Endowments are invested, and each year a portion of the investment income is spent to ensure academic excellence, provide access and opportunity, and sustain the University’s mission. Currently, the endowment spending rate is equal to 5% of the fund’s average assets over the last three fiscal years.
Q: How are endowment funds invested?
A: The PLU endowment is invested in highly diversified asset classes, providing stability in principal. This stability has allowed the university to continue to provide a five percent payout each year even during the volatile markets of the early and late 2000’s. The Endowment Investment and Spending Policy can be viewed in full here.
Q: How much does it cost to establish a named endowment?
A: While the PLU Board of Regents has set different minimum funding levels for different types of endowments, final endowment amounts may vary with each individual situation. We work closely with the appropriate faculty/administrators to determine the funding needs for each position and program. Currently, the minimum amount to establish a named endowed scholarship is $25,000. A full list of endowment options and corresponding amounts can be found on our Named Endowments page.
Q: What can an endowment support? Is it just scholarships?
A: You can endow much more than scholarships. Endowment options range from student scholarships to endowed professorships and chairs to student-faculty research. A full list can be found on our Named Endowments page.
Q: What does it take to start an endowment?
A: First, you should contact an Advancement Officer to discuss what type of endowment is best for you. Then you will sign an endowment agreement. This agreement between the donor and the university permanently defines the purpose of the fund. Finally, you make your gift! Your gift can be given all at once or over a period of five years.
Q: Whose name is on the endowment?
A: You can name an endowment for yourself, your family, your friend, your favorite professor, or whoever you please!
Q: Can I meet the students who benefit from my endowed scholarship?
A: In many cases, yes. Each year, PLU hosts an endowed scholarship event that brings together many of the scholarship recipients and donors. You will also receive an Endowment Impact Report each year that will likely include a message from the student who received the scholarship in your name. If the student so chooses, they will share their contact information with this statement. If you do not have an opportunity to meet your student on your own or at a campus event, the PLU Donors Relations team can make every effort to arrange a visit for you if you on campus.
Q: Can I contribute to an endowment without starting one myself?
A: Yes! PLU is always seeking additional gifts to the endowment – and there are existing funds and projects that should interest everyone! Contributions of any size may be given to these endowment funds. Please contact an Advancement Officer for information about gifts to existing endowment funds, or to learn how you can create your own fund by contributing over a period of years or through deferred gifts.