Our Endowment - Inspire Innovation - Carnegie Mellon University

Inspire Innovation through the Carnegie Mellon Endowment

No other university has come as far as fast as Carnegie Mellon. We have become an incubator of enormous ideas, a top-25, premier university that offers one of the most transformational educations in the world.

Having achieved so much, tremendous opportunities now lie before us. Inspire Innovation, the Campaign for Carnegie Mellon University, is about capturing this extraordinary moment.

Our chief goal during the campaign is to increase the power and reach of the university’s endowment. Endowment is any great university’s permanent financial capital. But at Carnegie Mellon it is an engine for innovation. Strengthening our endowment is a major factor in our ability to continue our unique formula for success.

Half of the campaign’s $1 billion dollar goal is directed to the endowment, with emphasis on long lasting support for faculty, students, and breakthrough innovations.

How Does the Carnegie Mellon Endowment Work?

The Carnegie Mellon endowment is a collection of individual funds established by donors and managed by the university as a set of pooled assets. Invested wisely, endowment principal grows while the income it generates makes possible the investments necessary to maintain excellence and to seize opportunities that might otherwise go elsewhere or be lost entirely.

Rather than one fund which the university can allocate as needed, the endowment is comprised of many funds established by donors to achieve specific philanthropic ambitions. For instance, Ray and Stephanie Lane’s gift to establish the Center for Computational Biology that bears their name is their investment in finding a cure for cancer. Jerome and Carolyn Holleran invested in undergraduate education at Carnegie Mellon by creating a scholarship challenge. So far, the scholarships have helped bring more than 50 students to Carnegie Mellon.

While the principal of this pool of assets remains intact, the university receives a portion of endowment income each year. This income is vital to advancing Carnegie Mellon because tuition alone cannot support all that the university does or needs to do in the future.

One of the reasons building our endowment is so important in this campaign is because income from our endowment distribution contributes about 5-6 percent to Carnegie Mellon’s annual operating expenses, compared to some of our peer institutions like Princeton and Stanford, whose endowments contribute 40 percent and 21 percent, respectively. This difference is primarily due to the fact that Carnegie Mellon is a relatively young institution without the history to have developed such resources.

The Carnegie Mellon endowment is a force for strategic empowerment, stability, and competitive strength. Now is our time to build it.

Endowment Gift Opportunities

Faculty Support

  • Deanship ... $5M (min.)
  • School or Department Head ... $3M (min.)
  • Distinguished Professorship ... $2.5M (min.)
  • Career Development Professorship ... $1.25M (min.)
  • Named Endowed Funds for Faculty Start-up, Research or Faculty Discretionary Funds ... $50K (min.)
  • General Endowed Faculty Fund ... Any amount

Student Support

  • Named Scholarship ... $50K-$750K (full)
  • Named Fellowship ... $50K-$750K (full)
  • Named Endowed Fund for Student Life and Leadership Programs or Athletics ... $50K (min.)
  • General Endowed Scholarship Fund ... Any amount
  • General Endowed Fellowship Fund ... Any amount

Named Endowment Fund ... $50K (min.)

General University Endowment Support ... Any amount

Giving to the Endowment

There are many opportunities to support our endowment during this campaign. To find out about specific projects and initiatives in an area of interest to you, please contact us.  speak directly with a campaign staff representative at 412-268-3264.