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Purdue for Life Foundation


Since its founding in 1869, alumni and friends have played a pivotal role in establishing Purdue as one of the world’s preeminent universities. Many of our alumni and friends have not only provided funds year by year but also have built a permanent financial foundation for Purdue by contributing to the Purdue Endowment. You, too, can have a lasting impact on this great University and help to shape the future of Purdue, the nation, and the world.

Endowments are gifts held in perpetuity and invested in a manner that protects the principal from inflation. The investment income provides a stable funding source for such purposes as scholarships, professorships, lecture series, and research centers. Purdue has received and managed thousands of endowment gifts over the years. Collectively, these gifts make up the Purdue Endowment.

Importance of endowments

Building the Purdue Endowment is a top priority for several reasons. Because endowments are held in perpetuity and invested for the long term, these gifts provide one of the most secure sources of future revenue.

Like all public universities, Purdue builds its budget from five income streams: tuition and fees, sponsored funding, internal reallocations, state funding, and private giving. Since the 1980s, state support has accounted for a steadily decreasing percentage of the overall budget. This trend makes private gifts even more critical for Purdue’s ongoing excellence.

Endowment gifts from alumni and friends enable Purdue to offer a scholarship to an exceptional student, attract an outstanding professor, buy equipment, enhance a library—small things in the big picture, but indispensable to excellence.

Planning your endowment gift

Planning an endowment gift can be a creative, challenging, and rewarding process. Endowment agreements, signed by the donor and Purdue, delegate to the University the responsibility of administering the funds according to the donor’s wishes in perpetuity.

A minimum of $25,000 will establish an unrestricted endowment at Purdue through any outright giving method using cash, securities, or personal and real property. Scholarships start at $50,000 for endowments with no restrictions or limited restrictions (merit and/or need) and $100,000 for endowments with restrictions. Other minimums for naming opportunities such as professorships, deanships, schools, and programs apply, depending on the endowment’s purpose. Our development professionals can help you choose the most beneficial gift asset and the best method for transferring it to the University in order to achieve your giving objectives.

Tax benefits

Specific tax and financial benefits from your gift depend on what type of asset you give and how you transfer it to the University. You may be able to receive federal and state income tax benefits, avoid or reduce capital-gains tax liability, and qualify for estate or gift tax deductions. Several types of gifts can provide tax benefits while offering a lifetime income to you and your heirs.

We recommend you consult with your attorney or accountant for advice on the legal and tax implications of any gift you might make.

Designating your gift

Designating your gift to the President’s Fund is your most versatile option because the president directs this money to the areas of greatest need. This fund has provided scholarships and student services; supported building projects, laboratory renovations, and innovative new programs; and matched major grants.

You can also have a meaningful impact on programs throughout the University by tailoring your gifts to a particular area of interest, such as a college or school, academic unit, campus organization, or project.

Named professorships, fellowships, and scholarships are a few of the opportunities that Purdue provides for donors to associate their name or someone else’s with Purdue. Many of the named opportunities have minimum permanent or annual funding requirements to ensure that income will be adequate to achieve the donor’s intent, both now and in the future.

Our investment principles

The goal of our investment policy is to ensure that private gifts to Purdue are managed well, invested thoughtfully, and used for the purposes specified by donors. For investment purposes, Purdue pools the individual endowment gifts into a single fund. This allows us to achieve greater diversity in our investments, lower our investment costs, and attain the maximum return on donor gifts.

Our investment objectives include the preservation of capital, the protection of capital from inflation, and the enhancement of capital through market appreciation. With these objectives in mind, we invest the majority of endowment funds in equities and the remainder in bonds and alternative investments. This has resulted in steady growth of the Purdue Endowment. The value of the Purdue Endowment exceeds $3.5 billion.

Spending policy

Income—interest and dividends, less appropriate expenses, plus capital appreciation—is distributed no later than May 31 and November 30 each year, based on March 31 and September 30 valuation dates, respectively. The distribution is a percentage of the average ending market value of the total endowment for the prior 12 quarters. Using a 12-quarter average protects the amount that is distributed from short-term fluctuations in the market.


Contact the Office of Planned Giving at 765-494-2727 or