​The Annual Fund

​Frequently Asked Questions

  What is the Annual Fund?​  

Gifts to the Annual Fund are “unrestricted” and invested in areas essential to the academic enterprise, such as professorships, scholarships, student research and technology. These gifts significantly bridge the gap between tuition and the full cost of a high-quality education.​​

  What is the Eliot Society?​  

The Eliot Society is an Annual Fund recognition level for donors who give $1,000 or more to any school or program. Because annual matching gift amounts count toward club credit, some donors can become Eliot Society members when they make a $500 gift that is then matched by their company.​


I just gave a few months ago, why are you asking again?​

  The university’s fiscal year runs July 1 to June 30. ​  
  Can I specify where my gift
is used?​

Yes, you may choose to support your school, a program that matters to you, or you can split your gift among two or more schools or programs.​

  I can only give a small
amount; how will that help?​

Every gift counts, no matter what the amount. Gifts of all sizes combine to make a meaningful difference for our students. Last year, gifts of $100 and less added up to more than $1.8 million in Annual Fund support. And because undergraduate alumni participation in the Annual Fund is one criterion U.S. News & World Report uses to rank Washington University, enthusiastic alumni participation helps boost the university’s national rankings. Washington University now ranks among the top 19 best universities in the nation! A strong national ranking attracts top students and faculty and brings national attention to the university—all of which enhances the value of your degree.

  Why does the university need our support when it has a strong endowment?​   The endowment is made up of more than 2,600 individual funds that are designated for purposes that donors have specified. Those funds cannot be used for other purposes. The university invests its endowment to provide financial stability to create a secure foundation for the future. Last year, endowment earnings provided about 11 percent of the university's operating budget, but they cannot meet all expenses. The Annual Fund combines contributions from many donors to help fund programs and scholarships. It also allows important new initiatives to be launched before endowed support can be secured.​​  

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