Many of our alumni and friends have not only provided annual funds year by year, but have also helped to build a permanent financial foundation for the University of Illinois by contributing to the University’s endowment.

Of all forms of private giving, endowments offer perhaps the most influential of investments in higher education by creating self-renewing, living legacies that span generations. An endowment is an investment in the lives of those to come, a promise without end, made by today’s donors to the future.

In an endowment fund, the principal is invested in perpetuity and only a portion of the investment’s earnings is spent. The rest of the earnings are channeled back into the fund, so that the endowment grows over time.

In this way, the endowment becomes a long-term source of funding for whatever a donor wishes to achieve with his or her philanthropy. Endowments may be either restricted or unrestricted, depending on whether there are purpose restrictions on the use of the income from the endowment.

The total U of I endowment is typically made up of many smaller endowment funds and the University of Illinois Foundation holds such gifts permanently as principal. The Foundation then manages these endowments to produce earnings that support designated U of I programs, faculty, and students across the University and its three campuses at Urbana-Champaign, Chicago, and Springfield.

A strong endowment increases the University’s ability to more readily predict one of its revenue streams, acting as a potential buffer for political or economic fluctuations. Because an endowed fund continues in perpetuity, an endowed gift has both an immediate and a continuing impact on the University today and in the future.

Currently, the University of Illinois Foundation stated annual payout rate is 4.00% and the endowment administrative fee is 1.35%, both assessed to a six-year rolling average of the market values of the total endowment pool. The annual payout rate is provided to the three universities in the University of Illinois System and their colleges or departments in support of the programs as specifically defined by the donor’s restrictions from the gift agreement governing the individual endowment fund(s.) The endowment administrative fee helps to support the advancement operations of the three universities and the Foundation.


For updated figures about the current University Endowment's performance and related reports, please refer to the Endowment page of the Financials section.

Questions? Email Gift Administration or call the department at 217-333-0675.