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Alumni and Friends Making an Impact

Success Through Sustainable Support

In a year when markets are down, the University of Dayton endowment provides consistent, reliable support to our programs, professors and students thanks to exceptional returns from previous years and the forethought and generosity of donors from generations past. This is exactly what an endowment is designed to do.

The endowment is an intergenerational pact — a contract between the past, present and future of the University. Our community is thriving thanks to alumni, donors and University leaders committed to the long-term success of our Catholic, Marianist mission.

The current value of the endowment, made up of both donor- and board-restricted funds, is $770 million. While this is lower than the $809 million reported last year, the University’s asset allocation plan and investment management performance mitigated the challenges experienced in traditional financial markets. As a result, our long-term investment pool remained stable at $1.06 billion as of June 30, 2022.

“We talk about the endowment as a single number, but it’s made up of hundreds of funds — most of which are restricted to very specific uses, such as funding a particular scholarship or professorship. We report on them together because these funds create a very real base of support — a foundation that the University of Dayton builds on every year,” said Chris Morrison, vice president of University Advancement. “It ensures that we will have consistent and growing support for our most important programs and people despite yearly fluctuations in value because our endowment is focused on creating equity across generations of Flyer students.”

The campus and community are receiving support from the endowment right now — $24.9 million this year — and the goal is to maintain and grow the endowment so that future generations receive the same UD educational value and benefits or better. Unlike an individual investor whose goal might be to maximize profit in 10 or 20 years, Morrison points out that “the endowment is a pool of funds managed for our success during the next 200 years.”

Even in a down market the endowment provides consistent resources. The board of trustees typically approves 3.5% to 5.5% of endowed funds for current use. This balances the need for preserving and growing the endowment while providing consistent funds that can budgeted for current use for our mission-driven initiatives.

In addition to this careful distribution, the board and many donors place specific restrictions on the funds and their gifts. This ensures that the funds will always be used for their intended purposes and are not legally permitted to be depleted by pressures to use the money as a “rainy-day fund.”

Think of it like sustainably harvesting from a forest or preserving groundwater in our aquifers. Cutting too many trees or pumping out too much water may have a greater financial impact upfront, but the long-term effects of overuse result in diminished returns overall.

“It was exciting to announce last year that our long-term investment pool and endowment passed the billion-dollar mark last year,” said Morrison. “That’s a significant achievement that places UD among the elite institutions in the U.S.”

And while annual tuition revenue and donor support fluctuate, which is simply the reality for all of higher education, UD’s endowment provides stable and long-lasting financial support for our students and our mission.

“Those who came before us have ensured our success today because they made gifts to the endowment. We’re benefiting from their generosity and foresight right now,” said Morrison. “It is our responsibility to preserve and grow that support for our future.”

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