The JMU endowment comprises many separate funds, each of which reflects the thoughtful and generous investments of donors to JMU.

Gifts to the Madison Endowment Fund support priority needs of the university. This fund gives the administration flexibility to allocate resources to meet current and future needs. Income generated from this general endowment fund is a permanent, self-sustaining source of funding. 

Endowment funds are invested in the market, and each year a portion of the value of each fund is expended to support the fund’s purpose. Earnings in excess of the expenditure remain in the endowment to continue to build the fund’s market value. In this way, an endowment fund can grow and provide support for its designated purpose in perpetuity. 

Endowment growth echoes JMU’s rise

In October 2018, JMU publicly announced its $200 million campaign with the goal of not only raising this amount but also of engaging 65,000 investors.

Led by President Jonathan R. Alger and a 27-member steering committee, Unleashed: The Campaign for James Madison University aims to provide significant new funding for signature programs and priorities. A primary goal of Unleashed is to double the portion of JMU’s endowment that funds student scholarships to reach $75 million by 2022.

This is only the second comprehensive fundraising campaign in the history of the university. The first was in 2006–2008, the Madison Century campaign. At the start of that campaign, JMU’s endowment was valued at less than $40 million and lagged far behind the trajectory of the university itself, which was growing both in stature and size. Then as now, donors embraced the challenge. As a result, the campaign eclipsed its goal by 40%, raising $70 million, initiating the university in the modern era of higher education fundraising and inaugurating a philanthropic culture at JMU.

From 2002 to 2018, JMU’s endowment grew by an annual rate of 9.65%, making it the fastest growing university endowment in the commonwealth. In 2019, the endowment surpassed $111 million, representing a 42% increase over the last five years.

This rapid growth rate stems from participation of donors who entrust the university with their gifts as well as prudent investment management by the JMU Foundation Inc. Both are essential to building a permanent, self-sustaining source of funding that ensures the future strength and stability of JMU— unlocking the potential of the Madison Experience for future generations.

Back to Top