Endowment Funds

  • Providing stable, long term financial resources for OHSU
  • Providing a legacy for donors, or someone they choose to honor
  • Funding critical priorities such as faculty support, research, educational scholarships and patient care



Endowed funds are critically important to OHSU’s goals of attracting and retaining the most talented people and supporting the types of programs that exemplify the institution’s mission of healing, teaching, discovery and outreach. The OHSU Foundation is OHSU’s designated fundraising entity.


What is an endowed fund?

An endowed fund is a permanent fund established for a specific purpose by a donor. The assets of the fund are invested to provide earnings that are paid annually in perpetuity to benefit an OHSU program. Each year any remaining income, beyond the annual spending distribution to OHSU and the endowment management fee, is re-invested to preserve and grow the original gift to sustain a legacy for future generations. The management of endowed funds is governed by Oregon law.

A quasi-endowed fund is one that the OHSU Foundation Board of Trustees, rather than a donor, temporarily restricts or pools for investment purposes.

Who benefits from an endowed fund?

An endowed fund may support a specific OHSU school, department, research institute or program. It also may support specific positions or purposes such as a faculty professorship or chair, scholarship or fellowship, research activity or patient care. An endowment established as a named fund (as designated by the donor) also may create a perpetual legacy for the donor or someone the donor wishes to honor.


Who administers OHSU’s endowed funds?

The OHSU Foundation’s Department of Finance and Administration provides the day-to-day administration of OHSU’s endowed funds. The foundation’s investment committee, consisting primarily of OHSU Foundation trustees, provides policy oversight and strategic direction for managing the funds. The board’s investment committee contracts with a professional discretionary investment firm for additional expertise, and all investments are managed by professional fund managers. 

Endowed funds are held and managed by the foundation to meet defined goals, policies and objectives. These policies are set by the board of trustees based upon recommendations of the investment committee. (These policies are available on request.)

What portion of endowed funds goes toward management and operations? 

Endowment Management Fee

In accordance with standard industry practices, the foundation assesses an annual fee to help pay for the management of endowed funds. The current fee, set by the foundation’s board of trustees, is 1.6 percent of the market value of the total pool of endowed funds based on a three-year moving average. This fee covers the administrative costs associated with running a perpetual endowment program. 

The revenue generated by this fee helps support OHSU Foundation operations. This funding model is evaluated annually by the foundation’s trustees.


How are endowment funds distributed?

For investment purposes, endowed funds supporting OHSU are managed together in an endowment pool. The current spending distribution as set by the foundation board is 4.5 percent of the three-year rolling average.

Investment income is available for spending by accountholders 12 months after the endowment’s funding goal has been reached.

Why are distributions generated by endowed funds sometimes frozen?

Occasionally the difficult decision to freeze monthly distributions to OHSU accountholders is made. This is done in accordance with Oregon law to protect the endowment’s principal value and to ensure that the endowment fund is not reduced below the original amount donated. Taking this temporary measure ensures that the donor’s legacy is preserved. The endowed fund is reactivated once it regains its original principal value and accrues an amount equal to its annual spending distribution.



What is the OHSU Foundation doing to increase endowment gifts?

The OHSU Foundation works closely with donors and potential donors to establish long-term endowment gifts that provide meaningful support for key OHSU programs. The foundation’s planned giving and development staff members collaborate with attorneys and financial advisers to help inform potential donors about the benefits that endowments can provide both to OHSU and to donors.



The OHSU Foundation has designated the following guidelines for establishing endowment funds. These can be established through current gifts or through planned gifts:

Endowment fund types:

start at:

Leadership position (provost, academic dean, hospital CEO, etc.) $5 million
Chair $2.5 million
Professorship $1 million
Program Director $1 million
(depending on program size)

Early Career Professional


Graduate Scholar

To support a student working toward an advanced degree in any graduate field.



Used for equipment, research and general laboratory support. May be used at the discretion of the laboratory director.


Departmental/Division Opportunity Fund

Used to support new or developing initiatives at the departmental or division level.


Faculty Support Fund

Used to support OHSU faculty in research or clinical development.


Innovation Fund

Used to support innovative work at the departmental or division level.


Scholarships, Program Support, or Awards

Used to support OHSU students or programs.