National study finds Kansas State University’s endowment growth among best in nation for 2014

The growth of Kansas State University’s endowment in fiscal year 2014 was among the best in nation, according to a study by the National Association of College and University Business Officers, or NACUBO, and the Commonfund Institute.

The study found that the valuation of Kansas State University’s endowment — $474 million at the end of the 2014 fiscal year — represents a 30 percent increase over the previous year. This places Kansas State University in the top 5 percent of all U.S. college and university endowment growth for that time period.

The annual study is a snapshot of the long-term financial health of U.S. colleges and universities. In the study, the overall value of Kansas State University’s endowment was ranked 117 out of 851 U.S college and university endowments.

Lois Cox, vice president for investments and chief investment officer for the Kansas State University Foundation, said that the growth in the endowment was due to a number of factors.

“The results of the NACUBO study are great affirmation of our investment approach and fundraising efforts,” Cox said. “With the philanthropic dollars entrusted to us, we strive to thoughtfully invest these resources with a view toward long-term growth. This allowed us to generate an investment return of 19.32 percent for the fiscal year, representing top decile performance among our peers. That performance, coupled with exceptional generosity of alumni and friends in the 2014 fiscal year, contributed to this outstanding growth in the endowed funds held for Kansas State University.”

Endowed gifts to Kansas State University ensure support for today while providing for resources for student scholarships academic excellence and innovation far into the future. Endowed gifts are invested and managed by the KSU Foundation in perpetuity. A portion of the investment earnings is distributed for the university’s use based on the donors’ wishes, while the original gifts are preserved as principal. In this way, endowed gifts have far greater earning power — allowing the gift to have an impact for generations. Endowment growth also is important to the university’s long-term sustainability.

“Endowment is central to Kansas State University’s future, because the size of the endowment is directly correlated to our capacity to serve future generations of K-Staters,” said Kirk Schulz, university president. “Total endowment value is one of our key university metrics as we measure progress toward K-State 2025, and this study confirms that we are on making great progress on this important metric.”

The university’s endowment was given a boost in fiscal year 2014 with $89 million in contributions to new or existing endowed funds. This amount was part of a record-breaking year in fundraising for Kansas State University with a total of $211 million in private gifts received. The university also received its largest contribution in its history, a $60 million gift from the Vanier family.

“In many ways, the 2014 fiscal year was an unusual year in fundraising for Kansas State University, but we hope that it won’t be unique,” said Fred Cholick, president and CEO of KSU Foundation. “No matter how you look at it, the generosity of our loyal alumni and friends is central to our success. Without their support, we could not achieve the results observed in this study.”

Philanthropic contributions to Kansas State University are coordinated by the KSU Foundation. The foundation staff works with university partners to build lifelong relationships with alumni, friends, faculty, staff and students through involvement and investment in the university.

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