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Washington and Lee University

Washington and Lee University

FAQs About the Annual Fund


Q: What is the Annual Fund?

A: The Annual Fund is made up of unrestricted gifts from alumni, parents and friends. The fund typically provides about 7% of W&L's budget. Annual Fund dollars are flexible and W&L uses them to operate the campus on a day-to-day basis. Each year W&L seeks contributions to the Annual Fund from July 1 to June 30. All gifts and pledges completed before June 30th count toward this year's Annual Fund.

Q: Where exactly do Annual Fund dollars go?

A: Quite literally, every corner of W&L's campus and each student and professor benefits from the Annual Fund. The Annual Fund equips W&L's science and computer labs, builds the library collections and maintains W&L's historic buildings and grounds, to name just a few things.

Net student fees do not cover the full cost of educating students at W&L. In fact, each year net student fees cover only about 52 percent of the cost of educating the student body. Of the remaining 48 percent, the Annual Fund provides 7 percent of the general education costs. W&L also relies on its endowment and outside managed trusts to supplement tuition. Without the Annual Fund, each student's tuition bill would increase by more than $3,629 each year.

Q: What gifts count toward the Annual Fund?

A: Unrestricted gifts to the University count toward the Annual Fund. Please note that gifts made to specific funds or purposes, such as the Generals Club or a scholarship, are not counted toward the Annual Fund. Therefore, donors to these projects are also encouraged to participate in the Annual Fund.

Q: Why is participation in the Annual Fund important?

A: You may feel that if you can only make a small gift to the Annual Fund, it does not make much difference whether you participate. Quite to the contrary, the mere act of participation has great consequences.

By making even a modest gift, your participation will help achieve a much greater result. Many corporations and foundations considering a contribution to W&L look carefully at the percentage of W&L alumni and parents who support the school. By making a gift of any amount, you help Washington and Lee raise funds from other sources. Giving to the Annual Fund, no matter the amount, is a way to invest in today's W&L.

Q: With a strong endowment, why does Washington and Lee still need annual support?

A: Thanks to many generous donors, Washington and Lee does have a strong endowment. It is important for W&L to spend from its endowment very conservatively, however, in order to ensure its continued strength.

The Annual Fund is sometimes called the "living endowment." Annual Fund dollars are expended in the year they are given to educate today's students.

To put in perspective the importance of the Annual Fund:

• A $100 Annual Fund gift has the same impact on W&L's budget as a $2,105 endowment gift.

• A $1,000 Annual Fund gift has the same impact as a $21,053 endowment fund.

Q: I am a law graduate-will my gift be used for the Law School?

A: All Annual Fund donations from law alumni directly support the Law School. As with the undergraduate side of campus, Law Annual Fund dollars are used flexibly within the Law School to support every aspect of the law program.

Q: What if I graduated from both the undergraduate college and the Law School? Where does
my donation go?

A: Unless you request otherwise, your gift will be split evenly between the Law School and the undergraduate college.

Q: If my spouse is also an alumna/us of the University, will we both get credit for making one gift?

A: Washington and Lee alumni spouses will each be recognized for the entire gift amount.

Q: What is the 1749 Circle?

A: The 1749 Circle is a special philanthropic society created to recognize the loyal alumni who support the University consistently. This society is not about how much you give; it's about the simple act of giving, year after year. Upon your third year of consecutive giving to the University you will be recognized as a member of this very special circle of loyal donors. Reunion members will be recognized among their peers with distinctive nametags at Alumni Weekend.