About an Endowment
An endowed fund is established to exist in perpetuity, with only the payout from the fund spent each year to support Syracuse University’s goals and priorities. That means that gifts to the Syracuse Endowment give forever, providing the financial foundation on which the University's future depends.
When you create an endowment, you have the satisfaction of knowing that your name or the name of a friend, family member, or favorite professor will be remembered at Syracuse forever, as the endowment gives for many generations to come.
On June 30, 2015 the University’s endowment was valued at $1.166 billion.
The Long Term Investment Fund
The Long Term Investment Fund, which is the pooled portion of the endowment, was valued at $1.120 billion as of June 30, 2015.
How the Long Term Investment Fund is managed
The Long Term Investment Fund is managed like a mutual fund. The fund assets are commingled for investment purposes, and are accounted for using unit accounting.
The Long Term Investment Fund includes approximately 2,000 individual endowments that, during the 2015 fiscal year, provided more than $53.5 million in support of the University's mission. Many of the endowments are unrestricted, and provide the stable support that enables the University to respond to new challenges and opportunities.
As individual gifts are received, they are assigned units based upon the month-end unit value. The annual distribution from each endowment is determined by the number of units in the fund and the unit distribution rate established annually by the Investment and Endowment Committee.
Currently, a gift of $1 million provides approximately $37,000 during the first year to support a donor’s stated purpose.
During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2015, the University's main pooled endowment fund had a total return of 2.0 percent, net of investment management fees.
The Long Term Investment Fund is well diversified across major asset classes, as well as within each asset class by market capitalization and investment style or strategy. The Investment and Endowment Committee establishes asset allocation targets to achieve the goal of maximizing long term total return within acceptable levels of risk. Total return includes income, interest and dividends, and appreciation of the underlying assets.
The Investment and Endowment Committee reviews the Fund’s asset allocation each quarter, and balances the portfolios when necessary to maintain the allocation to each asset class within acceptable tolerance ranges.
The Investment and Endowment Committee establishes the annual distribution rate per unit, presently calculated as 3.84% of the average market value during the previous three fiscal years.
The distribution rate is comparable to the average rate reported by all institutions participating in the 2014 NACUBO Endowment Study. For fiscal year 2016, the Investment and Endowment Committee approved a distribution rate of $15.57 per unit.
Investment Manager Selection
Syracuse University utilizes professional investment firms to manage the assets of the Long Term Investment Fund.
The Investment and Endowment Committee is responsible for selecting and terminating investment managers, and utilizes an investment consultant to assist with manager selection and monitoring. SU continually seeks outstanding investment managers who will enhance the Long Term Investment Fund’s risk-adjusted return over long-term market cycles.