Annual Fund Questions & Answers
WHAT IS THE ANNUAL FUND?
The Annual Fund provides unrestricted support of the University and comprises approximately 8% of the University's operating budget this year. The Annual Fund fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. All gifts and pledges completed before June 30th count toward our goal of $10.2 million for the 2015-16 fiscal year.
WHERE EXACTLY DO ANNUAL FUND DOLLARS GO?
Quite literally, every corner of W&L's campus and each student and professor benefits from the Annual Fund. The Annual Fund provides unrestricted funds to help keep the University running. For example, Annual Fund dollars equip W&L's science and computer labs, build the library collections and maintain W&L's historic buildings and grounds, to name just a few things. Also, the Annual Fund helps the University cover unexpected expenses, such as the extra snow plowing that was needed last winter when severe weather impacted the campus.
WHAT GIFTS COUNT TOWARDS THE ANNUAL FUND?
Annual Fund gifts are unrestricted gifts to the University. Gifts made to specific funds or for specific purposes, such as the Generals Club or a specific scholarship are not considered part of the Annual Fund. Therefore, donors to these projects are also encouraged to make an additional gift to the Annual Fund.
WHAT AREAS ON CAMPUS ARE AFFECTED BY THE ANNUAL FUND?
Every aspect of W&L benefits from the Annual Fund. The most fundamental impact is on the teaching and learning enterprise as we strive to retain the best professors and the brightest students and to offer the class sizes and faculty-student ratios that characterize this school. The Annual Fund also equips our science and computer labs, builds the library collections, and maintains our historic buildings and grounds. From football and lacrosse games on Wilson Field to music and theater performances in the Lenfest Center, the Annual Fund affects the life of every student on campus.
WHY IS PARTICIPATION IN THE ANNUAL FUND IMPORTANT?
Regardless of the size of the gift, participation in the Annual Fund is critical. Many corporations and foundations use alumni giving participation as a determining factor in deciding whether or not to fund grant requests. Alumni can support our efforts with these external agencies by making gifts to the Annual Fund.
WITH SUCH A STRONG ENDOWMENT, WHY DOES WASHINGTON AND LEE STILL NEED ANNUAL SUPPORT?
Endowment funds are placed in asset accounts and the University spends only a portion of the interest income from that investment. The Annual Fund is sometimes called the "living endowment." Annual Fund dollars are expended in their entirety in the year they are given. In that sense, donors know the full amount of their gifts are being used for educating today's students.
While W&L does have strong alumni support that has helped it to become one of the nation's leading educational institutions, there is a constant need for more funding, so that it can sustain its strength. It is important that W&L ensures a secure future by conservatively spending its endowment. By allowing the University to spend less of its endowment, we assure that the funds will be available for future W&L students.
Also, given the University's drawdown on its endowment, a $100 Annual Fund gift has the same impact on this year's budget as a $2,278 endowment gift. Similarly, a $1,000 Annual Fund gift has the same impact as a $22,779 endowment gift. It would take nearly $229 million in endowment dollars to equal the amount contributed by alumni and friends in the 2014-15 Annual Fund ($10,038,581).
WHY SHOULD I GIVE TO W&L WHEN I PAID FOR THE COST OF MY EDUCATION?
Giving to the Annual Fund is a way to invest in today's W&L. All alumni benefit when the quality and reputation of their alma mater remains strong. Giving to the Annual Fund is also a way of demonstrating your confidence in and loyalty to your school. And finally, many alumni support the Annual Fund as a way of expressing gratitude for the college experience they benefitted from. A little known fact is that tuition has never covered the full expense of educating students at Washington and Lee. Even those graduates who paid full tuition benefitted in some measure from the generosity of donors to the school who came before them.
IF W&L RECEIVES TUITION MONEY FROM CURRENT STUDENTS, WHY DOES THE UNIVERSITY NEED AN ANNUAL FUND?
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 49 percent of the cost of educating the student body. Of the remaining 51 percent, the Annual Fund provides 8 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 $4,444 each year.
I AM A LAW GRADUATE-WILL MY GIFT BE USED FOR THE LAW SCHOOL?
All Annual Fund donations from law alumni directly support the Law School. As with the undergraduate side of campus, law Annual Fund dollars support efforts to attract and keep the best professors and recruit the brightest students to the School of Law. Annual Fund dollars are also used to keep current law reviews in the library, continue Lexis/Nexis subscriptions, provide computer hardware and maintain Lewis Hall's physical space.
WHAT IF I GRADUATED FROM BOTH THE UNDERGRADUATE COLLEGE AND THE LAW SCHOOL? WHERE DOES MY DONATION GO?
Unless you request otherwise, your donation will be split evenly between the Law School and the undergraduate college.
WHAT IF MY SPOUSE IS ALSO AN ALUMNA/US OF THE UNIVERSITY?
Washington and Lee alumni spouses will each be recognized for the entire gift amount.