Investment Office

Endowment

The endowment’s purpose is to financially support the University’s education and research mission, and to support its financial sustainability for all future generations.

Brown’s $4.2 billion endowment comprises funds donated by individuals to the University with the intention that the principal be invested and provide an ongoing income stream to support the University’s educational purposes. Brown’s endowment reflects the generous and consistent support of benefactors dating back to an original gift of $4,500 in 1769 — an amount that is roughly equal to $150,000 in today’s dollars.

Distinct from the generous donations that Brown’s alumni, parents, students, and friends make to the University through the Annual Fund, which are spent immediately, the funds from the endowment are invested and a portion of the earnings used to support a purpose designated by the donor. Brown’s endowment is made up of more than 3,000 discrete accounts.

The mission of the endowment is to financially support the many endeavors of the University’s faculty, students and staff, shape the character of Brown as an institution, and ensure its permanence. To support this mission, the Investment Office focuses on preserving and prudently growing the endowment and its income distribution in perpetuity.

Endowment Payout

To support the dual mission of both preserving and enhancing the endowment, the trustees and fellows of the Corporation of Brown University vote annually on the exact percentage for the contribution amount, or “payout,” that will be distributed to the University to support operations. Per the endowment’s spending policy, this payout amount is between 4.5% and 5.5% of the average market value of the endowment over the prior 36 months.