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A $100M Milestone

The value of USM’s Endowment recently reached an incredible $100 million. Learn how we achieved this milestone and what it means for our school, our students, and our future.

This past fall, USM achieved an important milestone, one to which generations of leaders, volunteers, and donors have contributed—the value of the school’s endowment reached an incredible $100 million. The achievement was marked quietly and without fanfare, but its importance to the future of our school cannot be overstated—nor can our gratitude to those who have supported this effort.

Like all independent schools, USM’s tuition and fees cover only a portion of the total cost of educating our students. USM is fortunate to be able to provide an abundance of opportunities and resources for students, faculty, and staff that help to make the USM experience unique and valued, which are supported by USM’s Endowment. The endowment insulates the school—and school families—from expenses both planned and unplanned and exists thanks to the generous support of our donors.

Graph of USM's Endowment distribution.

Defined simply, USM’s Endowment functions like a high-interest savings account, serving as one of the school’s revenue sources (in addition to tuition, the USM Fund, and auxiliary programming). Of those revenue sources, however, the endowment has the most potential for growth, thanks to the generosity of our school community, responsible management, and the power of compounding interest.

USM’s Endowment policy stipulates an annual distribution of approximately 5% of the endowment’s value, using the average from the trailing eight quarters. During the 2021–22 school year, the endowment is providing just under $4 million, or 13.4% of the operating budget, for annual priorities like curricular enhancement, financial aid, programmatic opportunities, faculty and staff compensation, professional development, and more. Currently, one-third of the endowment is general in nature, supporting ongoing priorities, with two-thirds designated to named, endowed funds based on the donors’ wishes.

The USM Endowment follows a long-term investment strategy and is overseen by the Endowment board, which consists of former USM Board of Trustees members. Since 1987, USM’s Endowment has been invested with Commonfund, a nonprofit investment management firm that serves more than 2,000 nonprofit organizations. Having zero debt and an endowment valued at $100 million, which is approximately three times the school’s annual operating budget, puts USM in very healthy financial standing according to national benchmarks. Ongoing investment allows USM to maintain its leading edge as a nationally ranked independent school. It ensures that the school’s values and priorities, rather than external forces, influence decision-making processes.

Graph of USM's endowment compared to other schools.

Gifts to USM’s Endowment enhance the school’s financial position and create a legacy that impacts lives year after year. These gifts are contributions from individuals or groups in the form of outright or deferred commitments. In the recent Our Common Bond campaign, new gift commitments to the endowment exceeded $8 million, resulting in significant growth and impact. “When I think about all the things our endowment will do for our future students and faculty, that’s when I get really excited,” said Head of School Steve Hancock. “We have the opportunity to continue to grow something that will have a lasting legacy beyond our lifetime.”

“Our endowment gives us so much flexibility in hard times, and it secures the institution,” said Linda Mellowes, former USM Board of Trustees president and current USM Endowment Board member. “The best gift you can provide a child is an exceptional education. This endowment ensures the school will be able to deliver on its mission indefinitely.”

Visit www.usm.org/endowment for more information and a comprehensive video, or contact Patrick Tevlin at 414.540.3330 or ptevlin@usm.org.

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