Endowments at Rice

Endowed gifts — like scholarships, fellowships, faculty chairs and departmental funds — are an enduring means of support for Rice University that create a lasting legacy for Rice’s donors. An endowment is a permanent fund given to an individual or an institution for the ongoing support of that organization.

At Rice, endowments account for 40 percent of the operating budget and are structured so that the principal amount is kept whole while the investment income and gains are available for use each year to support university activities. Once established, an endowment grows over time and has an impact in perpetuity.

The impact of these generous gifts is seen and felt across campus every day, ensuring a sustainable base for future Owls.

Endowment Calculator

Enter a gift amount, and select a year to see what the earnings and payouts of your fund could look like in 5, 10 or even 50 years.


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Your exponential impact

Cumulative earnings
Cumulative payouts
Ending Value
Payout in year 5

About the Endowment Calculator:

  • The results provided by the endowment calculator are hypothetical in nature and are for illustrative purposes only. Results are not guaranteed and do not reflect actual investment results. The illustration should not be relied upon nor deemed as endowment fund advice.
  • Growth rates vary from year to year; however, for illustrative purposes, the endowment calculator assumes fixed investment returns of 7.5% per year.
  • Likewise, for illustrative purposes, the endowment calculator uses a fixed distribution or payout rate of 4.5% each year, although Rice generally targets a current-year payout rate between 4.5-5.0% over the long term.
  • Endowment distributions (payouts) are made available to departments at the beginning of each fiscal year (July 1) based on gifts received by the previous Dec. 31.
  • Rice’s investment policy is designed to maintain or grow the purchasing power of the endowment over time and assumes long-term inflation at approximately 2-3%.

Endowments: Donor FAQs

What kinds of endowments can I establish at Rice? What is the minimum gift to establish each?

There are numerous ways in which you can support your area of passion at Rice through making an endowed gift. Such gifts can provide lasting support to critical services and endeavors of the university. The below table provides some examples of ways an endowment can support the university’s mission, and the minimum commitment required to establish such a fund.

Endowment Description Minimum
Undergraduate Scholarships

Support Rice’s commitment to a need-blind admissions policy and The Rice Investment by giving admissions staff the resources to meet the demonstrated financial need of our extraordinary students.

Merit scholarships are also a useful tool in recruiting meritorious admitted students demonstrating academic, athletic, or musical excellence.

Departmental Support Provide an important resource for deans, directors and department chairs to meet the highest priorities of their units, as well as to create meaningful opportunities for students and faculty. $100,000
Graduate Fellowships Graduate students play a critical role in the teaching and research. Fellowships allow Rice to successfully compete with other top graduate programs for these emerging scholars. $100,000
Lecture Series & Visiting Scholar Programs Enhance our current curriculum by exposing our students and the larger Rice community to different perspectives, voices and areas of expertise. $100,000
Awards Recognize and reward students, faculty or staff for special achievement, research, or community service. Awards are generally made at the end of the academic year. $100,000
Post-doctoral Fellowships Postdoctoral fellows are critical to elevating our research profile by extending the breadth and depth of our research portfolio. $1,500,000
Faculty Chairs As an exceptional but small wide-spectrum research university, endowed chairs make it possible for Rice to compete for top faculty and to bring the best researches and teachers to campus. Variable - starting at $3,000,000

How do I make a gift to create an endowment?

An endowment can be created by making a one-time gift of cash, credit card or securities, or by creating a pledge, payable over five years or less. Endowments can be created with planned gifts, as directed by estate plans or a charitable gift annuity or trust. A development professional can help you create the payment arrangement that best meets your needs.

Once a donor decides to create an endowment at Rice, they will work with one of our development staff members to create an endowed fund agreement or EFA. Please call 713-348-4383 or email stewardship@rice.edu for assistance.

Can my friends and I pool our resources in order to create an endowment?

Yes. One of the most enduring ways to celebrate a loved one or to support a common interest is for groups to create an endowment. Rice development staff can work with you to suggest ways in which your group may accomplish this goal. Please contact us at 713-348-4383 or stewardship@rice.edu to begin a conversation.

May I place specific restrictions on the purpose of an endowment?

Your motivation to establish an endowed fund may be informed by a desire to support a specific department, program, area of research, or student experience. Rice's development professionals will help to craft an Endowed Fund Agreement between the donors and the university that reflects your wishes and unique interests.

Donors may restrict the purpose of endowments in a variety of ways, but the restrictions must not violate any laws or policies that Rice University adheres to in administering funds.

Because of the permanent nature of an endowed fund, we will strive to respect your wishes and also account for the future when settling on the agreed upon restrictions.

When I have fulfilled my pledge, when will the endowed fund activate?

Rice policy allows for endowments to be activated at one time per year – July 1, which is the beginning of the university’s fiscal year. Endowments qualify for activation at either 2.0% or 4.5% if they meet two criteria:

  1. The endowment was fully funded by Dec. 31st of the preceding year. For example, to activate on July 1, 2023, the final pledge payment would need to be paid by Dec. 31, 2022.
  2. The fund has accumulated sufficient earnings to support the budget for at least two years when it is activated. If the analysis shows that the fund is not able to support the budget at 4.5% for a minimum of two years, the university will activate the fund at a lower level (approximately 2.0%) for the first year. A review will be conducted each year until it passes the reserves test.

For more information, please refer to the Rice Management Company’s Investment Spending Policy.

Can I add to existing endowments?

Many of our donors choose to make additional gifts to endowments they have established in order to increase the fund’s annual impact on students and faculty. You may also add to a fund that someone else created. Any gifts to an existing endowment are bound by the same guidelines of the endowed fund agreement.

How will I learn about the financial state of the endowed fund and how it supports the university?

The Constituent Relations office is responsible for the stewardship of endowed funds that have been established by donors. You will receive an annual report about the status of the endowed fund and how it contributes to life and research at Rice.

You may designate another individual or organization to receive annual endowment reports at any time.

Annual Endowment Reports

The Constituent Relations office distributes annual reports to each donor or designee following completion of the endowment audit conducted by the Office of Investment Accounting and the Rice Management Company. These reports provide information about the overall performance of the Rice University endowment, the performance of the individual endowed funds established by the donor, and information about the students, faculty and programs that benefit from the fund.

To learn more related to Endowment Reporting, please contact 713-348-4383 or stewardship@rice.edu.

FY23 Endowment Report
FY22 Endowment Report
FY21 Endowment Report
FY20 Endowment Report
FY19 Endowment Report

Giving to Rice

Development & Alumni Relations
P.O. BOX 1892
Houston, Texas 77251-1892

Phone: 713-348-4991
Email: giving@rice.edu


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