Managing Endowment/Gift Funds

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The University of Pennsylvania relies heavily on the financial support of alumni and friends to fund a wide range of academic activities. The Office of Development and Alumni Relations consults the Penn alumni community to identify opportunities for philanthropic support that are best aligned with the University’s mission and the passions of our donors.  

Creating Funds

Trust Administration is responsible for creating all new endowment and gift funds into the University’s accounting system (BEN Financials). Departments who need to establish a new endowment or gift fund should submit the following paperwork to Associate Trust Administrator, Irma Lerma, via email at 

  • BEN Financials New Fund Request Form completed and signed by the School/Center Senior Business Administrator 
  • ATLAS New Designation Request Form completed by development staff 
  • Donor supporting documentation, such as a gift agreement, donor letter/memo, etc.* 

*Quasi-endowment funds (i.e. funds functioning as endowments or unrestricted endowments) created with unrestricted department surplus revenue do not need donorsupporting documentation. 

All original donor documentation should be delivered to Trust Administration2929 Walnut Street, Suite 300, Philadelphia, PA 19104-5099, for the permanent preservation of these documents. 

Fund Types

The following is a brief description of each fund type. 

Endowment Funds (40XXXX, 46XXXX):

There are three types of endowment funds.  

  1. True or “permanent” endowments are established with donor-restricted gifts or bequests to provide a permanent source of income for a restricted purpose.  True endowments are expected to last in perpetuity. 
  2. Term endowments commonly provide support for a restricted purpose during a specific timeperiod or up until an event occurrence.  A term endowment is sometimes referred to as a wasting endowment. 
  3. A quasi-endowment (i.e. funds functioning as endowment or unrestricted endowment) is an endowment that generates income but is generally not donor restricted. This endowment type is typically created with unrestricted department surplus revenue.  Unlike a true endowment, the principal and gains could be liquidated into cash, if specific requirements are met. 

Restricted Operating Term Gift Funds (60XXXX, 62XXXX):

Restricted Operating Term Gift Funds are established to receive gifts where the donor intention is to support a specific operating purpose. 

Unrestricted Operating Gift Funds (63XXXX):

Unrestricted Operating Gift Funds are established to receive gifts where the donor intention is to support unrestricted operations/general uses of a department. 

Capital Project Gift Funds (65XXXX):

Capital Project Gift Funds are established to receive gifts where the donor intention is restricted to a capital project, such as the construction of a new building or the renovation of existing building space. 

User Guide

For a more in-depth look at gift reporting and accounting, please review the Operating Gifts, Endowments, and Reporting User Guide