What is an endowment?

An endowment is a fund, created through a charitable contribution, which provides a perpetual stream of income in support of scholarships, fellowships, faculty chairs, instruction, and other important programs or services at the University of Pittsburgh.  

How are endowed funds established?

An endowment is created pursuant to an agreement between a donor and the University. Pitt development professionals work with a donor to ensure that the donor’s philanthropic intent is fulfilled.  

How is the University of Pittsburgh Endowment managed?

The University of Pittsburgh Endowment consists of thousands of individual endowment funds. While each endowment fund is distinct and individually tracked, these funds are commingled together for investment purposes and collectively invested through the Consolidated Investment Pool (the “Pool”). Each individual endowment is assigned shares within the Pool, similar to how a mutual fund is managed. The primary investment objective for the Pool is to earn a rate of return over an extended period of time that is sufficient to support a prudent spending policy and preserve the Pool’s real asset value. The Pool is invested by the University’s Office of Finance, with oversight from the Board of Trustees in a diversified, risk-controlled portfolio that optimizes long-term return potential without sacrificing the integrity of the assets or the ability to meet ongoing spending obligations.   

How is income from the University of Pittsburgh Endowment distributed?

The amount of investment income distributed from the Pool is determined by the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees pursuant to the University’s Spending Policy and in accordance with Pennsylvania law. The University’s Spending Policy specifies that the income distributed for any fiscal year shall be an amount equal to the greater of 4.25% of the three-year average fair market value of the assets or the prior fiscal year’s income distribution. This policy insures that programs supported by endowments are provided with sufficient support to maintain operations, while allowing for continued growth of the endowment.

For more information about how to establish an endowment at the University of Pittsburgh, please contact Danni Piccolo, Assistant Vice Chancellor, Schools and Centers Individual Giving, at 412-624-2915 or at danni.piccolo@pitt.edu.