AU’s endowment increased by 14.6 percent, or $48 million, from last December.
The endowment is the interest made on donations to the University. The interest is spent according to the donor’s stipulations, but the original donation is never touched.
AU’s endowment is worth $418 million as of Dec. 30, 2010, a significant growth from last year’s $370 million from December 2009, according to Douglas Kudravetz, associate vice president of finance and assistant treasurer.
The average increase this year for schools with endowments between $100 and $500 million was 11.9 percent, lower than AU’s 14.6 percent growth.
Kudravetz said the endowment grew due to more donations from AU alumni.
“We outperform our peer group, and the group that’s larger than we are [endowments of $500 million to $1 billion], we’re outperforming them as well,” Kudravetz said.
Last year’s endowment grew by 33 percent, the largest single-year increase AU has experienced.
Other D.C. schools have much larger endowments, but Kudravetz said he does not think this harms AU as an institution.
“Georgetown and GW have endowments that are about $1 billion, and ours is half that,” Kudravetz said.
Kudravetz said AU’s small endowment is a result of the low numbers of endowed gifts given in past years.
“A lot of [alumni] go to jobs where they’re not accumulating a lot of wealth,” Kudravetz said.
President of the Alumni Board Erin Fuller said she believes the endowment will grow as the AU community becomes more close-knit, like at other schools.
“Harvard has a rich culture there,” Fuller said. “Alumni are expected to support the University going forward. ”
The Alumni Relations Office has stepped up alumni engagement this year by reaching out to AU alumni through events and e-mails, according to Abbey Silberman Fagin, assistant vice president of development.
“When people are engaged and involved and informed, they like to give,” Fagin said.
Fagin said that while AU alumni contribute to the University financially, they also contribute to the student body through mentorships, lectures and networking.
“It’s important for alumni to know they’re always going to be a part of the family,” Fagin said. “We’re doing these things because we want them to come back.”