Soar Magazine

Endowments build excellence while providing financial stability

–By Todd Ellenberg MS ’91

The nation’s most prestigious universities are consistently assessed by the size of their endowments, which are the financial bedrock of a university’s drive to develop and sustain excellence. They provide the vital margin to fund transformational scholarships, recruit and retain distinguished faculty, and support important programs, thereby elevating the excellence of Florida International University.

“We are grateful for the generosity and foresight of all our donors who have established endowments. Every gift, regardless of the size, matters!” said Howard Lipman, CEO of the FIU Foundation. “Endowments provide financial stability and a safety net for our future. This is particularly crucial for public institutions like FIU that play such a vital role in supporting our community and nation.”

When a donor makes an endowed gift to FIU, their contribution is entered into a long-term investment. Only when the earnings on that investment reach a certain amount will they go toward supporting the university efforts specified by the donor: scholarships, faculty positions or programmatic offerings. This way, the principal gift amount will always remain intact and earning. This ensures efforts funded by the endowment are sustainable in perpetuity. Any investment return over allowed spending is channeled back into the fund to increase growth.

In the fiscal year 2020-2021, the FIU Foundation saw a 35% rate of return on its investments, and the market value of endowment funds totaled $276 million. Investment returns had a 13.51% 3-year average and 8.68% 10-year average. The Foundation provided approximately $30 million, including the state match on the First Generation Scholarship Program, to advance FIU’s mission. Funds were used to support a diverse student population, exceptional faculty, cutting-edge research, modern facilities, and collaborative engagement with our local and global communities.