Can I designate where my gift will be used?

Yes, you may choose to support the school, program, or scholarship most meaningful to you. You may also choose to split your gift among two or more areas that interest you.

I can only give a small amount; how will that help?

Every gift counts, no matter what the amount. Last year, gifts of $100 and less added up to more than $1.8 million in Annual Fund support. And because undergraduate alumni participation in the Annual Fund is one criterion considered by U.S. News & World Report when ranking universities, enthusiastic alumni participation helps boost the university’s national rankings.

I just made a gift a few months ago, why am I being asked to give again?

The university’s fiscal year runs July 1–June 30. Donor records are pulled 4–6 weeks in advance of our solicitations and may overlap with a gift that has already been submitted.

What is the Annual Fund?

Gifts to the Annual Fund are invested in professorships, scholarships, student research, and technology. These gifts significantly bridge the gap between tuition and the full cost of a high-quality education.​​ Annual Fund gifts also enable university leadership to act on immediate or changing needs and address unforeseen challenges. The university’s Annual Fund starts with a zero balance at the start of each fiscal year (July 1) and is replenished throughout the year by donors.

What is the difference between the endowment and the Annual Fund?

Let’s start with what they have in common: Both the endowment and the Annual Fund provide essential revenue for WashU. Now their differences …

The university’s endowment is a collection of 3,711 individual funds, restricted by the donor and invested for the long term. More than half of these funds benefit our outstanding schools, departments, research, and programs; the rest goes to facilities, professorships, and scholarships.

The Annual Fund consists of gifts at every dollar amount that are pooled together each fiscal year (July 1–June 30) by more than 50,000 donors for everyday, urgent expenses. These gifts make flexible resources available for nearly everything that make the WashU experience extraordinary—from scholarships and fellowships to experiential learning opportunities to career counseling.

Why doesn’t WashU spend more endowment dollars to cover additional expenses?

By law, it can’t. The endowment is restricted for specific purposes designated by the original donor. WashU cannot invade the real principal value—the equivalent of the original gift plus inflation. The endowment works as a type of permanent investment account. This helps ensure vital support for today’s students, as well as generations to come.

What role do the endowment and the Annual Fund play in financial assistance for students?

 In 2019–20, a majority of graduate students and 51% of undergraduates benefited from some form of financial aid. In fact, the university awarded $295.1 million in financial assistance to all students. However, endowment covered only 16% of that need. Annual gifts of any size help make up the difference.

What kinds of gifts count toward my Reunion year Class Gift?

Your gift to any area of the university—including the entire amount of multi-year pledges, corporate matching gifts, and estate commitments—counts toward your Class Gift, as long as it is made before June 30 of your Reunion year. 

For more information about Washington University’s endowment and its impact, visit endowment.wustl.edu or read Chancellor Andrew D. Martin’s Endowment 101 blog series.