The James Madison University Foundation will mark the 50th anniversary of its founding in 2019, and the board has set an ambitious and necessary goal of attaining a $100 million endowment by that occasion.

Since its establishment during Dr. Ronald Carrier’s presidency, the foundation has grown significantly. In the last 10 years, the foundation’s endowment fund has grown from $29.6 million to $78.4 million as of June 30, 2014.

Endowments support JMU in a variety of ways. Last year, 60 percent of the endowments supported student scholarships. The remaining percentage of endowments went to fellowships, professorships and chairs (14 percent), academic support (13 percent), unrestricted (11 percent) and other (2 percent).

The JMU Foundation Endowment comprises many separate endowment funds. Each endowment fund comes with its own criteria about how the income is to be used and for what purpose. These criteria are specified by donor. Along with the initial gift, the funds are invested to produce income, a portion of which is used as expenditure for the purpose of the gift and a portion of which is reinvested to continue to grow the endowment. Over the last five years, the JMU Foundation annualized return on endowment investment was 12.74 percent.  

In this way, donors who establish an endowment fund create a permanent legacy of support for James Madison University.

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