The purpose of an endowment is to provide a common area for new and existing funds to be collected, invested and grown, and to maintain the institution for future generations by establishing a secure financial health. Institutions use the investment returns for various financing expenses. However, it is a strategic goal to only use a portion of these returns in order to avoid diminishing the endowment too rapidly.
The College has adopted investment and spending policies for endowment assets that attempt to provide a predictable stream of funding to programs supported by its endowment while seeking to maintain the purchasing power of the endowment assets. Endowment assets include those assets of donor-restricted funds that the College must hold in perpetuity or for a donor-specified period, as well as board-designated funds. Under this policy, as approved by the Board of Trustees, the endowment assets are invested in a manner that is intended to produce results that exceed the endowment spending rate plus inflation, defined as the Consumer Price Index plus 1%, while assuming a moderate level of investment risk.
To satisfy its long-term rate of return objectives, the College relies on a total return strategy in which investment returns are achieved through both capital appreciation (realized and unrealized) and current yield (interest and dividends). The College targets a diversified asset allocation that places a greater emphasis on equity-based investments to achieve its long-term return objectives within prudent risk constraints.
The College's pooled endowment posted returns of 14.0%* for the fiscal year ended June 30, 2014, and has averaged an annual return of 8.9% over the past decade.
Division of Responsibilities
- Board of Trustees - The Board of Trustees appoints members of the Committee on Investments and designates the Chairperson. The Chairperson of the Committee on Investments reports periodically to the Board of Trustees on the status of the investments of the College and on the policies and practices of the Committee.
Sustainability and the Endowment
The endowment's role as an investment in sustainability is further explored within the Sustainability section of our website.
* - The college posted a $6.8M positive audit adjustment in FY14 to reflect updated valuations relating to private equity investments. This financial statement adjustment brings the one-year performance figure closer to 16.0%.