Endowment 101

Published on 26 May 2021

Philanthropic gifts have the ability to impact an institution for generations. Endowed funds create opportunities for long-term growth, and annual gifts can make an immediate, direct impact for students and the University. Both are essential for creating a sustainable cycle of financial success and growth.

For University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, the generosity and foresight of supporters throughout our history have allowed for the healthy growth of our institutional endowment, which has allowed us to meet both opportunities and challenges for 157 years.

“A healthy endowment is one piece of an institution’s financial strength, with enrollment, annual giving and other revenue streams contributing as well,” explained Lisa Vansickle, CPA, vice president of finance and chief financial officer at the University. “The combination of these pieces working in tandem allows us the ability to expand essential support and services, like financial aid, as well as create new and diverse programs and experiences for our students.”

The University’s endowment is made up of a collection of endowed funds. Some are restricted, meaning they may only be used for purposes outlined by the donor, and some are unrestricted, meaning they may be applied to any area of need — all working together to support the institution’s mission.

What is an Endowed Fund?

An endowment can be thought of as a long-term savings account. The account’s annual earnings can be drawn upon to provide financial support.

So, how does it work? The principal amount donated for an endowed fund, or the corpus, is invested, and a percentage of the earnings from that fund are then used each year to support the philanthropic initiative designated by the donor. Because the amounts drawn come only from the earnings, the principal fund remains intact and will continue to generate earnings that support the designated initiative.
Establishing an Endowment

The University has a long history of endowments, with the longest-running endowed scholarship, the Robert Hunstock High Proficiency Scholarship, established in 1930 by Robert Hunstock, Ph.G. 1876. Over the last 90 years, the fund’s earnings have far surpassed Hunstock’s initial donation of $7,500, and it continues to support students to this day.

Today, the minimum investment required to establish an endowed fund is $25,000. The investment can be made all at once or over time through a pledge, and the fund will begin earning once the minimum principal amount has been reached. Over time, the earnings will surpass the initial investment, creating a far-reaching impact for generations.

Endowments can support a variety of programs, including scholarships, programming, research, faculty professorships, chair appointments and more. Whatever your passion is, a fund can be created, or already exists, to support it.

“Even if a large investment isn’t an option for you, we have a number of large endowed scholarships that donors contribute additional funds to each year,” stated David Poole, director of finance at the University. “With each new donation, the fund’s corpus, and by extension earnings, grow. It increases the collective impact for our students over time.”

The Choice That’s Right for You

Establishing an endowed fund, or making a contribution of any kind, is an important decision. We are here to answer your questions and help you determine what option is the best for you and your family.
To establish an endowed fund or to learn more about the existing endowed funds to which you can contribute, contact Vincent Piazza, annual giving officer, at vincent.piazza@uhsp.edu.


Earlier this year, the Leonard Naeger ’63/’65 Endowed Professorship in Pharmacology exceeded its goal of $250,000. The endowed fund, established to honor the beloved alumnus and professor who dedicated his career to St. Louis College of Pharmacy and the profession of pharmacy, will support the study and advancement of pharmacology for years to come. The first recipient of the professorship is expected to be selected for the 2022-23 academic year. Thank you for your support and helping us reach this goal!

Endowed professorships and chairs can help recruit highly qualified faculty and recognize accomplished faculty already serving the University. Learn more about supporting faculty at the University.

This story was first published in the spring 2021 issue of Script Magazine. To view past issues of Script, visit the Script Magazine archive.

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