ASU endowment reaches $1.5B, ranks among top universities for second time


Exterior of a large, glass-paneled building

The Fulton Center is home to the ASU Foundation for A New American University. ASU photo

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The Arizona State University endowment surpassed $1.5 billion in assets at the end of 2023 and was ranked among the industry’s largest endowments by assets for the second consecutive year.

The endowment, which is managed by the ASU Foundation for A New American University, ranked No. 103 during fiscal year 2023 out of 688 U.S. and Canadian colleges, universities and affiliated foundations in the National Association of College and University Business Officers-Commonfund Study of Endowments annual study. Six institutions that outranked ASU are based in Canada.

ASU ranked ahead of the following peer institutions: University of Arizona Foundation (No. 113); University of California, San Diego Foundation (No. 106); Washington State University (No. 116); University of Central Florida Foundation (No. 342); and Georgia State University Foundation (No. 343).

A combination of generous donors, market recovery and strong investment performance boosted the endowment’s market value 5.8% for fiscal year 2023, which ended June 30.

“From a performance perspective, ASU's endowment performed in the top quartile over the past five years among peer institutions with similar-sized endowments,” ASU Foundation Chief Investment Officer Jeff Mindlin said. “Long term, the endowment has exceeded objectives to provide a stable payout to ASU and grow ahead of inflation.”

The endowment’s annualized returns were 10.1%, 9% and 7.6% for the trailing three-, five- and 10-year periods.

“The endowment works by pooling gifts, investing it in a sophisticated manner, and then paying out a portion of the gains each year," Mindlin said. “Because of new gifts and strong performance, the payout has increased over 50% in the past five years — driving even more impact for ASU.”

Last fiscal year, 132 new endowed funds were added to the ASU endowment in support of students, faculty and other programs. The ASU endowment is comprised of more than 2,470 endowed funds that are restricted for a specific use or distribution schedule by the donor gift agreement and are permanent gifts that are invested as a pooled fund to provide long-term financial support to ASU for scholarships and fellowships, professorships and chairs, research, athletics and other enrichment activities.

“The endowment is a vital component of resources that allow ASU to support its charter and change futures," ASU Foundation CEO Gretchen Buhlig said. “The annual payout provides reliable funding for scholarships, research and professorships. The capital also allows for critical strategic investments as well as experiential learning investment programs for students.”

ASU students not only benefit from scholarships and enrichment, but also from opportunities to participate in five student-managed investment funds that are tied to the endowment. Other students are able to participate in shareholder stewardship activities through proxy voting and corporate engagement.

Some of those efforts contributed to the ASU Foundation being recognized with an Innovator Award for its sustainability program by Chief Investment Officer Magazine in December.

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