Frequently Asked Questions

What is an endowment fund?

An endowment fund is a permanent, self-sustaining source of funding. Endowment assets are invested for long-term growth. Each year, a portion of the value of the fund is paid out to support the fund’s purpose, and any earnings in excess of this distribution are used to build the fund’s market value. In this way, an endowment fund can grow and provide support for its designated purpose in perpetuity. When you establish an endowment fund, you create a permanent legacy of support for the MCV Campus.

What types of areas benefit from an endowment?

Endowed funds support a variety programs across the MCV Campus, including student support in the form of scholarships, fellowships or student awards; faculty support for chairs, professorships, teaching funds and faculty development funds; research funds for specific diseases; and program support in the form of department funds or lectureships.

What level of support is required to establish an endowment?

The MCV Foundation has set minimum funding levels for different types of endowments.


  • $25,000 will establish an general scholarship fund (talent, merit, need) for a particular school, unit or program on the MCV Campus.


  • $50,000 for a named endowed scholarship (with restrictions) at the College of Health Professions, School of Dentistry, School of Medicine, School of Nursing and School of Pharmacy.
  • $250,000 will establish a Graduate Student or Postdoctoral Fellowship fund at one of the health sciences schools on the MCV Campus.

LECTURESHIP, Department or Research Funds

  • $100,000 will establish an endowed lectureship, department or research fund at one of the health sciences schools on the MCV Campus.


  • $500,000 will establish a Junior Faculty Fellowship/term professorship.
  • $500,000-$1 million will establish a Discovery Innovation Fund
  • $750,000 will establish an endowed Departmental Professorship.
  • $1.25 million will establish an endowed Research Professorship.
  • $1-$3 million will establish an endowed Faculty Chair.
  • $2-$3 million will establish an endowed Department Chair.
  • $3-$4 million will establish an endowed Research Chair
  • $4-$10 million will establish an endowed Deanship.
  • $5-$20 million will establish an endowed Department, Center or Institute
  • $20-$200 million will endow a School or College

How can I create an endowment?

The MCV Foundation staff works directly with the donor or in partnership with another MCV Campus development officer to draft an endowment agreement to establish an endowment fund that will be meaningful to both the donor and the benefiting program. This agreement between the donor and the MCV Foundation permanently defines the purpose of the fund. The agreement also outlines MCV Foundation’s standard procedures for managing endowment funds.

Whose name is on the endowment?

The donor can name an endowment for himself/herself, a family member or friend, a favorite professor, physician or other care provider, or the donor’s company.

Should I ask my attorney prepare my endowment agreement?

No. The MCV Foundation uses standard language for endowment agreements to ensure consistency in management of the funds. The Foundation staff works with the donor to establish the endowment and will incorporate the donor’s preferences as appropriate.

Do I need to sign an endowment agreement or meet a minimum gift level if I want to give to an existing endowment?

No. Donors can make gifts of any amount to an existing endowment fund without signing an endowment agreement. There may be an existing endowment that reflects a donor’s interests. Also, many donors who have established endowment funds in the past continue making gifts to them over time, increasing the impact of the fund.

How do I find out about my endowment after I have made my gift?

Once an endowment reaches the minimum funding level and starts generating spendable income, the MCV Foundation will begin sending the donor annual reports detailing the value and use of your endowment fund. Financial aid endowment donors learn about their scholarship recipients, and professorship donors are updated on news of their chair-holders.

Can I meet the students who benefit from my scholarship?

Each year, the MCV Foundation hosts an annual scholarship event to bring together scholarship donors, recipients, and honorees. Donors are seated with the recipients of their scholarships.

How else does MCV Foundation recognize major donors?

The Founders’ Society was created by the University to recognize individuals whose cumulative gifts and pledges to all areas of VCU total $100,000 or more. Members of the Founders’ Society are invited to special celebrations recognizing their generosity. Donors who make planned gifts to benefit the MCV Campus are recognized as members of the MCV Society. Members of the MCV Society are invited at an annual reception. Donors who participate in the Discovery Series in Williamsburg and contribute $1,000 or more to support one of the clinical disease areas are recognized as members of the Discovery Society. Discovery Society members are invited to an annual reception and other events on the MCV Campus.

Who manages the MCV Foundation’s endowment assets?

The MCV Foundation’s endowment assets are managed by Lowe, Brockenbrough & Company (LB&C), an independent investment advisory firm with $2.1 billion in assets under management. The MCV Foundation’s Investment Committee sets the investment strategy and oversees the performance of LB&C. The MCV Foundation has an endowment management policy that seeks to balance present needs with the desire to meet the future’s rising costs, which is achieved by reinvesting some of today’s earnings so that a larger principal will be available each year to generate more income.