– Maya King '21
What is the size of the Gonzaga endowment?
The endowment has grown through the generosity of donors and solid investment net returns, with the annualized 10-year return of 9.5%, ranking among the top 10% in the nation among other higher education institutions.*
* 2020 NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments
NACUBO: Why does it matter?
The National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO) is a membership organization providing leadership and sector-wide guidance on accounting, finance, and tax issues in higher education. (Source: nacubo.org)
The NACUBO-TIAA Study of Endowments® is the most comprehensive study of the nation’s institutions of higher education with endowments, it is considered the preeminent analysis of the financial, investment and governance policies and practices of the nation’s endowed institutions for higher education. Over 700 institutions participated in the 2020 study, representing $637.7 billion in endowment assets.
The February 2021 study released return information for the one-, three-, five-, and ten-year periods ending June 30, 2020. Gonzaga participated in the study, and proudly reports that its annualized net investment returns were in the top 25% in the nation for each the one, three-, five- and ten-year annualized periods. Gonzaga’s annualized net investment returns were in the top 10% in the nation for the three-, five-, and ten-year annualized periods.
This report marks the fourth consecutive year that Gonzaga’s net investment performance is in the top 10% in the nation for the three- and five-year annualized periods and the top 25% in the nation for all periods, and the seventh consecutive year that Gonzaga’s net investment performance is in at least the top one-third of study participants for each the three-, five- and ten-year annualized periods.
How is the annual endowment spending determined?
Each year the University spends approximately 4.5% of the fair market value of the pooled endowment measured on a trailing twelve quarter basis and adjusted for inflation.
How is the endowment used?
What are the endowment investment returns?
The Gonzaga pooled endowment annualized investment return (net of fees) for the one, five and ten-year periods (measured as of June 30, 2020) are included in the accompanying graph.
What if an endowment loses value?
Should an individual endowment suffer an investment loss that exceeds the historical gift amounts, the University funds the spending from unrestricted sources, thus ensuring the donor’s gift intent is fulfilled each year regardless of investment market conditions.
Who manages the investments?
The oversight of the endowment is delegated to the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees and supported by Gonzaga University Finance staff and an investment consulting firm specializing in institutionally managed funds. Endowment gifts are pooled and invested on a portfolio basis. Gonzaga University’s goal for endowment assets is to provide a long-term annualized return equal to, or in excess of, annual spending plus inflation. The “spending power” of an endowment gift could diminish over time. Therefore, endowment gifts and any accumulated unspent earnings are invested in a manner intended to produce long-term growth while assuming a reasonable level of investment risk.
Investment decisions include an assessment of socially responsible investment criteria as part of the ongoing, comprehensive sustainable efforts at Gonzaga.
How have the investments performed over the long term?
The following table illustrates the growth of $1,000 over ten years (net of fees, prior to spending), as compared to Gonzaga's policy index and target return.