Endowment fund grows for next year


Tamonda GriffithsNews Writer

Approximately $890,000 in programs and scholarship funds were distributed this academic year, according to Business Manager of the SCSU Foundation Krista Hayes.

However, the foundation, which manages the monetary gifts the university receives, are aiming to increase that to $1 million for next academic year.

“This year with our  endowment growing, market returns with our spending rate that we’ve calculated,” said Hayes, “we’ve calculated that we will be able to distribute a million – just a hair over a million – dollars for next academic year [2019-2020].”

Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Executive Director of the SCSU Foundation Michael Kingan said in order to reach $1 million more money has to be raised.

“We have to back up and have kind of a comprehensive look at how we engage with our donors,” said Kingan, “how we engage with our alumni, [and] how we involve companies and foundations.”

Kingan said the main source of endowment funds are from alumni, friends and members of the community, or “companies who either want to help support us for philanthropic reasons or they want to support us because they want to hire our students once they graduate.”

According to Associate Vice President of Alumni and Donor Engagement Judite Vamvakides, over the past 20 years, outreach has changed.

“Direct mail and phonea-thons were really big about 20 years ago,” said Vamvakides, “then email kind of began to take place of some of that and now, I would actually say Giving Day is the most [successful], to be honest.”

Because Giving Day is such a “grassroots type of effort,” Vamvakides said it takes collaboration from the foundation staff, community members and alumni.

Overall, the university’s endowments are valued at over $30 million dollars, Hayes said. The investment of the $30 million, Hayes said, is outsourced to an investment firm called the Commonfund.

“[Typically], the minimum value is $25,000 to establish an endowment,” said Hayes. “So, we typically don’t give away that $25,000, it’s just is used – it’s part of an investment pool. And so, we are distributing money based on our earnings.”

Endowments, Carrie Pettit, director of campaign operations said, are invested like a person would invest in stock.

The foundation, she said determines – based on the number of market returns and a formula they use – how they will award the money for programmatic services and scholarship funds.

Some of the things the foundation currently invests in, Hayes said, include equity investments and fixed income investments.

“Equities are basically our stocks,” said Hayes, “they’re different investments that you would make in the marketplace. And then fixed income is typically more safe, less risk but lower return, typically.”

Hayes said the foundation does not have direct say in which equities the Commonfund invests in, however, there are policies which the foundation expect the firm to adhere to.

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