Our Financial Future

The DU Endowment is built on the generosity of donors and alumni. The funds are used for new facilities, programming, professorships, student aid and more. Over the years, the endowment has changed lives both on and off campus, supporting students and alumni with immersive educational experiences, career development services and other opportunities.

Read on and discover how the endowment empowers students, professors and the University to create meaningful change throughout our communities — all made possible by gifts from the global DU community.

Contact us to learn more about giving options.

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2019 DU Endowment Distribution

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2019 DU Endowment Investment

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graph chart with red line moving up from 2010 to 2019 with final pricepoint of $786,425,334

DU Endowment Market Value

About the Endowment

Dear Friends,

As a member of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Investment Committee, I am pleased to share information about the University’s endowment in the 2018-19 fiscal year. Our assets continue to be managed by Investure, LLC, a recognized leader in the endowment and foundation investment management industry. They are a full-service, outsourced investment firm whose focus is on meeting the needs of non-profits and a select group of prestigious colleges and foundations. The University of Denver portfolio is a global, multi-asset class portfolio that is heavily weighted to equities. It is constructed to (1) take advantage of the endowment’s perpetual time horizon with a focus on long-term (10+ years) outperformance over passive indices, and (2) protect against large downturns in the global equity markets. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, the University’s overall endowment experienced a 4.75% return. While we are pleased with the fiscal year return in a challenging market environment, Investure is constructing our portfolio to responsibly achieve our desired long-term asset allocation targets that should ultimately drive sustained outperformance. Thank you again for your support and investment in the University of Denver.


K. C. Gallagher, MBA '03

Chair, Investment Committee

Board of Trustees

Campaign Investment Fund

As the University of Denver continues to deepen its commitment to building a global culture of engagement and philanthropy, 5% of philanthropic gifts received on or after January 1, 2018, will be allocated to support fundraising and engagement efforts. Additionally, the University will commit a portion of annual reserve funding to support campaign operations. The combined funding from these two sources will constitute the Campaign Investment Fund. These assessments will significantly extend the reach and impact of gifts to the University and help to advance the mission of the University of Denver.

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Endowment FAQ

  • What is an endowment?

    An endowed fund is a gift held in perpetuity for the purpose of institutional support and growth. The endowment is the aggregated collection of all endowed funds gifted to the University by generous donors and foundations, of which many are dedicated to specific purposes defined by the donor. The gift principal (initial dollar amount) is invested, while a percentage is released for direct spending on the selected endeavor. Because they are established to remain in effect over the long term, endowed funds can change countless lives over the years. The impact of an endowed gift will continue into future generations of DU students, shaping minds and careers.

  • How are the funds managed?

    Each endowed fund is administered according to the provisions of a written agreement approved by the donor and the University at the time the fund is established. This agreement sets forth the name and purpose of the endowment, and is developed through discussions with the donor in conjunction with Advancement.

    Endowed funds are pooled for investment to contain costs and maximize returns. Separate accounting is maintained for each endowed fund to track growth, expenditures and additional contributions — thereby preserving the identity and purpose of each fund. The investment pool is overseen by the University’s Investment Committee, which employed the services of Investure, LLC, a leading investment firm, to actively manage the University's Endowment Investments. Earnings in excess of the amount expended from each fund (a maximum of 4.5%) are retained in the fund to provide the basis for continued growth.

  • How can I establish an endowed fund?

    In considering the creation of an endowed fund, you should ask yourself what amount of annual support you would like the fund to provide each year for its designated purpose. Multiply that figure by twenty, and you arrive at an estimate of the endowed principal that will be needed to establish the fund at the level you envision. For example, if you wish to establish a scholarship fund that will provide an award of $5,000 each year, you will need to donate approximately $100,000 in endowed principal ($5,000 x 20 = $100,000). Certain minimum commitments are required to establish a new endowed fund; a listing of these may be obtained from Advancement.

    Endowed funds can be established all at once or over a period of up to five years. They may be established with donations of cash or other property such as appreciated securities or real estate. They may be established through outright gifts, or through a deferred gift plan such as a bequest from your estate, a retirement plan designation or a charitable remainder trust. After creating a fund, many donors choose to augment their original gift with annual contributions during their lifetime, and often include a bequest to the fund in their estate plans. Advancement is available to help you decide what makes the most sense for you, and how you can maximize the impact of your gift.

    For more information, contact us at donorrelations@du.edu or 303-871-4591

  • How can I find out the status of my endowed fund?

    Advancement provides donors of endowed funds with an annual report each fall that reflects the financial status and activities of the fund for the previous fiscal year (July 1-June 30).

    For more information, contact us at donorrelations@du.edu or 303-871-4591

Endowment Spending Policy

The University of Denver’s endowment spending rate policy is currently 4.5 percent of an individual endowment fund’s market value. The majority of these funds include true endowments, made up of gifts restricted by donors to provide long-term funding for designated purposes. The remaining funds represent funds that the University chose to invest and treat as endowment (known as quasi-endowment). Donors frequently specify a particular purpose for gifts, creating endowments to fund scholarships and fellowships, professorships and other University programs. Although distinct in purpose or restriction, endowed funds are commingled in an investment pool, but tracked on an individual account basis.

The University reinvests previously allocated spending distributions that have accumulated in amounts greater than two times the estimated annual distributions. This enhances our ability to ensure the duration and preservation of our endowed funds, and to honor the intent of our donors.

Investment Policy

The University of Denver’s investment philosophy is to maximize return on assets by exercising an appropriate level of risk; benefiting current and future generations of students and honoring a donor’s intent for the gift and growth of their investment. The University manages stock market volatility by maintaining a diversified portfolio, including equities, fixed income, real estate and other investments. However, diversification alone will not prevent the endowment from sustaining losses during market downturns. The University of Denver’s endowment distribution policy insulates its budget from short-term fluctuations in the financial markets by using a conservative spending rate formula. These funds are pooled for investment to minimize costs and maximize returns. A separate account is maintained for each endowed fund to track growth, expenditures and additional contributions — thereby preserving the identity and purpose of each fund. The investment pool is overseen by the University’s Investment Committee, which employed the services of Investure, LLC, a leading investment firm, to actively manage the University's Endowment Investments. Earnings in excess of the amount expended from each fund are retained in the fund to provide the basis for continued growth.


Empowering Refugees with Promising Careers

Generous endowed gifts recently helped create a hospitality training program geared toward providing opportunities for refugees and immigrants. The initiative helps newly arrived individuals integrate into the Denver community while providing hands-on management experience for DU students.

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