The university accepts gifts in support of its mission that do not infringe academic freedom; present a conflict of interest; impose undue risks or burdens of a financial, reputational, or other nature; or violate the law.
Endowment Fund Policies
Minimum gift levels for endowed funds
The Yale endowment supports our faculty, provides financial aid for students, builds our libraries and collections, and sustains a myriad of programs and activities. Minimum funding requirements for endowed funds vary depending on the nature of the gift opportunity. For example donors may support financial aid for students in Yale College or the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences by creating an endowed fund with a minimum gift of $100,000. A named visiting professorship in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences or athletic coach’s position may be endowed with a gift of $1,500,000, an existing professorship with a gift of $3,000,000, or an incremental professorship, dean’s, or director’s position with a gift of $6,000,000.
Endowment unit pricing policy
Endowment units are priced on a monthly basis. The effective price for units purchased is based on the unit value calculated at the end of the month in which funds are received. Funds received and pending investment in the endowment pool will not receive any interest or rate of return until units are purchased.
The effective price for units sold is based on the unit value calculated at the end of the month in which the request for sale is received by the Office of Gift Administration. Cash disbursements related to units sold will occur as soon as possible following the date the unit value is calculated.
Spending rule for endowed funds
The university’s spending rule has to balance two competing goals: the need to fund the operating budget at a rate that is stable and predictable year after year, and the obligation to protect the value of endowment assets against inflation. Yale combines a long-term spending target rate of 5.25 percent of the total endowment value with a smoothing rule that adjusts spending gradually in accordance with changes in the endowment market value. In years in which the endowment is appreciating rapidly, the actual spending rate remains lower than the target rate. For the same reason, in a declining market, the actual spending rate can be higher than the target rate while the smoothing formula cushions the reductions in the amounts available to the operating budget. Since January 2008, the endowment formula places a floor of 4.5 percent on the expected payout rate and a ceiling of 6 percent.
Administrative charge on endowment fund income
Yale imposes a charge on the annual income distributed from restricted endowment funds, which represents a pro rata portion of costs incurred by the university in carrying out the purposes of the funds. The administrative charge is adjusted annually, based on changes in the university’s budgeted and actual expenses.
Stewardship of Endowed Funds
Donors who establish endowed funds receive periodic financial updates on the value of their funds and may also receive periodic reports from the university related to the individuals and activities benefitting from these generous gifts. For example, letters are sent annually to donors describing the background and accomplishments of students awarded scholarships from a particular fund. Individuals endowing professorships are notified of the appointment of each new chair and provided with periodic updates of the professor’s academic achievements and research.
Other Gift Policies
Crediting of annual gifts
Yale’s fiscal year runs from July 1 through June 30. Annual gifts are credited to the fiscal year in which payment is received. For multi-year annual pledges, reunion and annual report recognition for the entire amount of the pledge is given in the fiscal year in which the gift intention is documented; credit in subsequent years is based upon the amount of the pledge payment received in each fiscal year.
Crediting of reunion gifts
A donor’s combined reunion gift total includes all new gifts and gift intentions (pledges) made to most areas of the university since the last reunion: current use Alumni Fund contributions; capital gifts for special purposes; Quarter Century Fund (Class of 1996 and earlier) and Half Century Fund gifts; and investment returns for applicable classes.
Crediting of bequest intentions
Donors who document their intention to include Yale as a non-contingent beneficiary of their estate plan will receive credit in the fiscal year in which the intention is documented at a discounted value based on the age of the youngest individual upon whose death Yale receives the bequest. This age, usually a minimum of 65 years, is determined as of June 30 of the current fiscal year. For purposes of reunion gift credit, the donor’s age will be determined as of June 30 of the donor’s upcoming reunion year.
To document a bequest intention for gift credit, a donor must complete a Bequest Intention Form and to provide a copy of the relevant portion of their will or trust. On the Bequest Intention Form, the donor is asked to provide or estimate the current value of the bequest.
Indirect cost recovery for expendable gifts
All spendable gifts are subject to the university’s indirect cost recovery policy, which allocates 12 percent of the gift amount to offset the full costs associated with the program funded by the gift. These full costs, which are borne by the university, include support services and other costs, including but not limited to such items as finance and business operations, information technology, fundraising, public relations, police and security, legal, human resources, maintenance, and utilities. The funds directed in this manner allow Yale to sustain its exceptional programs within the setting of a world-class university. Gifts for capital facilities projects are excepted from the assessment. For gifts made for the sole purpose of acquiring a specific object(s) for Yale’s collections, an exception can be made, with approval from the Provost’s Office.
Gifts from relatives of applicants for admission
Yale discourages donors with a relative applying to Yale from making gifts that would be outside their established pattern of giving during the fiscal year that the relevant application decision will be made and the preceding fiscal year. Offers of significant gifts from persons who have no prior Yale affiliation will be closely scrutinized to ensure they are not intended to influence an admissions decision.