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Giving Through Endowments

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I establish an endowed fund?

Learn about establishing an endowment, and be a part of defining the second century of unbridled achievement at SMU. To make your impact on SMU, you can call 214-768-4745 or e-mail We can answer your questions and provide the next steps.

What specific opportunities for establishing an endowment are available?

Endowments can be established for many different purposes across the University. Reading about the University’s Second Century Campaign priorities and giving opportunities may help to guide a decision.

Can we add to the endowment fund over time?

Yes. Gifts to the endowment fund’s principal or operating accounts can be made at any time. The Office of Planned and Endowment Giving can help direct a gift to the appropriate fund.

Can I give a gift to endowment without establishing an endowment?

Yes. Gifts to an endowment fund’s principal or operating accounts can be made by anyone. There are named endowments and more general endowments that support specific schools or priorities. The Office of Planned and Endowment Giving can help direct a gift to the appropriate fund.

If I can receive a higher rate of return, shouldn’t I invest it myself so I can give SMU a larger gift?

You may be able to take on more investment risk and thus receive a better return. SMU, on the other hand, has a fiscal responsibility to its students, parents, faculty, and staff to weigh risk carefully, while at the same time investing prudently.

By adding your gift to the SMU Endowment you increase its opportunity for more rapid growth.  The data clearly demonstrate that universities with larger endowments experience faster and greater growth. SMU’s endowment took 80 years to reach $500 million. Reaching that milestone enabled the endowment to double in size to over $1 billion in only 10 years. Your gift not only invests for the future, but it works for SMU today.

How are endowment earnings spent?

Endowment earnings are spent according to the purpose and restrictions agreed upon by the donor and University when the endowment was established.

Who invests and manages the SMU Endowment?

The University’s Chief Investment Officer and an Investment Committee appointed by the Board of Trustees.

I want to give to the endowment, but I don’t have substantial resources. How can I participate?

There are several options. First, remember that gifts of any size to the SMU endowment are welcome and appreciated. Also, you might consider a planned gift, such as a bequest in your will, an insurance policy, or a retirement fund designation. Some donors choose a retained life estate, for a future gift of their home or farm. Other gifts, through an annuity or trust, can provide both life income and support for SMU. Some of these have significant tax benefits to the donor. You can contact the Office of Planned and Endowment Giving to get more information.