What is an endowment?

It is a restricted gift made to the university where the capital is invested and the annual investment income supports a specified educational purpose. It is a legal arrangement known as a charitable purposes trust where the funds are usually held in perpetuity unless the donor designates a time period for the trust. None of the fund is used for administration and VIU does not encroach on the principle.

How is an endowment created?

An endowment must have a minimum of $20,000 in its fund. The reason this figure is so high is that the fund must be large enough to generate a good return for the student reward. You can make a lump sum payment of $20,000, or make smaller gifts over five years until you reach $20,000.

Does the endowment carry the donor's name?

Yes, if the donor wishes. He or she may also support a particular program of study in the name of the endowment. The fund can be named in the honour of the donor, or in someone else's memory.

Why should I consider creating an endowment?

By establishing an endowed fund, a donor provides a sustainable source of revenue for his or her intended beneficiary at the university. Creating an endowed fund also provides a donor with the opportunity to honour a loved one or a respected colleague or mentor, giving a permanent reminder to others of this special person.

How are the endowed fund distributions made?

Once a fund is endowed, the established criteria determine how the annual income is disbursed. The distribution of the fund is determined annually based on the income generated and may change as investment returns warrant. Over time, as the endowment grows, the annual distribution to beneficiaries increases.

May donors add to their endowed funds?

Yes at any time. There is no maximum level for an endowed fund and the donor may add to it at any time. Often relatives, friends and associates who share the donor's interests may also add to the fund.

Can the purpose of the fund be changed?

Should the donor's interests change, he or she can work with the Advancement & Alumni Relations Office staff to change the purpose of the endowment to better reflect new priorities.

Does the university keep donors informed about their fund's activity?

Every donor receives an annual report from the Advancement & Alumni Relations Office providing details on the fund's performance related to income earned, its share in any investment gains or losses, disbursements and contributions received that year. A list of recipients of the endowment's earnings that year is also reported.

Are matching funds available?

Funds may be available to match a donor's gift. VIU and some corporate partners provide matching funds and these are generated on a first come first serve basis. See the Guidelines for Matching Funds.

VIU's Advancement & Alumni Relations Office staff will work with donors to determine the terms and conditions of an endowment gift in accordace with your wishes. for more information, please contact Susie Caswell, Advancement & Alumni Relations Office, Gift Planning and Donor Relations at susie.caswell@viu.ca or at 250.740.6216.

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