Purchasing Power

What is an endowment?

Vol. 9 No. 5
April 2007

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Purchasing Power
Managing Emory's endowment for the present and future

What is an endowment?

Asset allocation of Emory's endowment

“I tried to think of issues that the faculty might bring to the investment committee, and it's difficult to find one.”

“We want to spend today and benefit the students and faculty of today, but we don't want to do that at the expense of the next generation.”

Is Movie Science All Wet?
Tsunamis, global warming, and other film disasters

Unpopular Culture
Graduate students, risky topics, and professional cachet

Further reading

100 Semesters: My Adventures as Student, Professor, and University President, and What I Learned Along the Way
William M. Chace, President Emeritus and Professor of English


An endowment is a gift to a university in perpetuity, meaning forever. The endowed gift is meant to be preserved and invested, the earnings from that gift to be used as a source of income. The endowment can be restricted, in which case the donor gives specific instructions as to where the money is to be spent—such as scholarships, building construction or operations—or unrestricted, in which case it is left to the discretion of the university. A gift that is not endowed must be spent outright, or over a stipulated period of time.