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ENDOWMENT FAQs

What is the Stony Brook Foundation?
On February 24, 1965, the Stony Brook Foundation, Inc. was incorporated "to assist in advancing the welfare and development of the State University of New York at Stony Brook by accepting and encouraging gifts to this corporation and by using such gifts to advance such purposes in a manner consistent with the educational policies of the State University of New York." The Foundation by-laws state that a Board of Trustees shall "manage the property, affairs, business, and concerns of the Foundation."   

If Stony Brook is a public university, why does it need private gifts?
The State of New York provides less than 18 percent of the University's annual operating budget. Private gifts allow the University to attract and retain the best and brightest faculty, provide scholarships, build first-class facilities, and continue the quality education and research programs that are the hallmark of Stony Brook. 

Is my gift tax deductible?
The Stony Brook Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) charitable organization. All gifts to the Foundation are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law. You should consult with your tax attorney/advisor concerning the deductibility of your gift. The Foundation's federal tax identification number is 11-6077945.

Who decides the University’s fundraising priorities? 
The University's fundraising priorities are established by President Maurie McInnis, PhD, in consultation with her Cabinet, Deans, and key faculty and staff, as well as in consultation with the Foundation's Board of Trustees. Fundraising priorities are fluid and are adjusted based upon the University's needs and donor opportunities. 

What is the difference between a current use gift and an endowed gift?
Gifts (and grants) given to the Stony Brook Foundation for current use are immediately available to support the University according to the donor's wishes. Current use gifts may be placed into an existing fund and commingled with other gifts that were made for the same purpose. Large current use gifts and grants made for specific purposes are typically placed into new (and separate) gift fund accounts. The Stony Brook Foundation charges a one-time 10% gift fee for current use funds. In the case of endowments , the gift is permanently invested, and the investment earnings are used to support the purpose of the gift in perpetuity.

How are scholarships awarded?
Each year, donors step forward to provide undergraduate scholarship and graduate fellowship support that help to transform the lives of our students. Some scholarship and fellowship awards are based upon merit and reward academic performance, while others are based upon demonstrated financial need. Student assistance can be designated for students within a specific college, school, department or major, for incoming freshmen or upper division students, for students who are the first generation from their families to attend college, or for those who grew up in a certain city, town, or state, or graduated from a particular high school. An annual scholarship of at least $4,500 and a fellowship of at least $9,000 can be awarded in honor of the donor. Other scholarship gifts are commingled with existing University scholarship funds and administered accordingly.

About Endowments

What is an endowment? 
Endowments, rather than current-use funds, are often referred to as the "gifts that keep on giving" by offering donors the opportunity to support multiple generations of students and faculty, thereby providing a lasting personal legacy and impact on Stony Brook.

Endowment funds are permanently invested by the Stony Brook Foundation. In accordance with the donor’s wishes, as specified in their contractual gift agreement, a portion of the income generated by that investment is used for university programs such as undergraduate scholarships, graduate fellowships, faculty research, libraries, lectureships, or other priorities.

Another portion of the endowment’s income is reinvested each year, enabling the endowment principal to maintain its "spending power" against inflation and continue to grow.

The Stony Brook Foundation endowment policy provides for an annual program distribution of 4.5 percent of a five-year rolling average of the endowment market value, depending upon market conditions. This rate is slightly higher than that of our peers: the median distribution for organizations with endowment assets of $100 million or higher is 4.43 percent. *

The Stony Brook Foundation has set our endowment spending rule, based on historic market trends and inflation, so that the value of the endowment will grow in the future while also providing current-year operating funds for hundreds of areas across campus. Furthermore, our spending rule ensures that the endowment is protected and stabilized through strong and weak market conditions.

How large is the Stony Brook Foundation endowment?
The Foundation’s most recent audited endowment market value is approximately $266 million.

Why can’t the Stony Brook Foundation's endowment be used to compensate for reductions in state funding?
Each restricted Foundation fund has an underlying legally-enforceable agreement with the donor that requires us to use the money as the donor has directed. The Foundation has a fiduciary duty to allocate these resources according to donor intent.

How is my gift spent?
Each gift received by the Foundation — regardless of whether it is for current use or an endowment — is allocated to ensure that the donor's wishes are honored. In fact, 97.5 percent of the $266 million endowment is restricted to one of 3,000+ fund accounts for a specific program, activity, or school/college.

Over the last 25 years, universities nationwide have experienced a dramatic decline in the percent of unrestricted gifts.

Why isn’t the Stony Brook Foundation endowment larger?
While we have achieved significant fundraising gains over the past decade, Stony Brook University — founded in 1957— is the fourth-youngest among the 65 institutions that are members of the Association of American Universities (AAU). Therefore, we've had only a fraction of the 100+ years most of our peer institutions have had to raise funds and build an endowment.

What about funds for current use?
Stony Brook University raises millions of dollars for current use every year for hundreds of donor-restricted funds representing nearly every area of the university. Additionally, recent examples of current use funds include $7M raised from 3,500+ donors in Spring 2020 for the Coronavirus Crisis Challenge and the Student Emergency Fund. These funds were immediately allocated to alleviating problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, including the need for critical supplies and treatments for the hospital and expenses incurred by students whose lives were disrupted by the coronavirus.

*https://editorialexpress.com/cgi-bin/conference/download.cgi?db_name=AFA2019&paper_id=1219


Stony Brook Foundation Mission 


The Stony Brook Foundation, Inc. and Affiliate (the "Foundation"), a not-for-profit, "no member" corporation established in 1965. The purposes of the Foundation are as follows: 

a. To assist in developing and increasing the resources of the State University of New York at Stony Brook ("Stony Brook University") in order to provide more extensive educational opportunities and services by making and encouraging gifts, grants, contributions and donations of real and personal property to or for the benefit of Stony Brook University. 

b. To receive, hold, administer and dispose of gifts and grants, and to act without profit as trustee of educational or charitable trusts of benefit to and in keeping with the educational purposes and objectives of Stony Brook University. 

c. To finance the conduct of studies and research of any and all fields on intellectual inquiry of benefit to and in keeping with the educational purposes and objectives of Stony Brook University and/or its constituent schools, and to enter into contractual relationships appropiate to the purposes of the Foundation. 

d. To grant and/or administer scholarships and fellowships and to engage in experimental education activities and research projects.