Endowment FAQ

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  • What is the endowment?

    The University of Richmond’s endowment is composed of approximately 1,480 individual endowed funds, designated to support scholarships, fellowships, lectureships, faculty chairs, and other important activities. Together, these funds provide a permanent source of support for UR’s students, faculty, and programs, and represent the University’s largest financial asset.

  • What is the University’s spending policy?

    Each year, approximately 5 percent of the endowment’s underlying market value is distributed to fund operating expenses. This spending distribution comprises approximately 40 percent of the University’s annual operating budget, followed by revenue from net student tuition and fees, auxiliary enterprises, and current use philanthropic contributions. This spending policy ensures that the corpus of each endowed fund retains its purchasing power on an inflation adjusted basis. The endowment does not fund construction projects on campus.

  • With its strong endowment, why does the University need my annual gift?

    The annual distribution from the endowment allows UR to pursue unique and critical initiatives, but it can only be spent in accordance with donor specifications. Current use philanthropic contributions (annual gifts) allow the University to provide increased access to the latest technologies, outstanding programs, and excellent facilities. Education is not finite; there is always more that can and should be done. Both annual and endowed giving are critically important to the ongoing success of the University.

  • How do I support the endowment?

    Donors may work with University Advancement to establish a fund that aligns with the donor’s philanthropic interests, such as a scholarship or faculty chair. Contributions are invested by Spider Management Company and each year, a portion of the fund’s value is withdrawn to support the purpose specified by the donor. Earnings in excess of this withdrawal amount remain invested, building the fund’s value to ensure that your gift continues to provide meaningful support for years to come. When an endowed fund is established, a permanent legacy of support is created for UR.

    Alternatively, many of our donors choose to add to existing endowed funds in order to increase the fund’s impact on students, faculty, and programs. Any gifts to an existing fund are bound by the same guidelines as the original gift agreement.

  • What is Spider Management Company?

    Spider Management Company, LLC is the University’s investment management affiliate. It is governed by its Board of Managers, the majority of whom are Trustees of the University. The endowment has grown by more than $2.3 billion over the past two decades thanks to generous donors and Spider Management’s unwavering focus on generating strong absolute returns over the long term.