How to Give


Endowed gifts provide educational excellence, permanently.

Endowment funds are essential to the vitality and financial security of the university. The endowment fund remains intact in perpetuity while its earnings support students, faculty, and/or programs, as designated by the donor.

Download the Endowment Overview
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Endowment FAQ

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of establishing an endowment is that it allows you to directly accomplish your philanthropic goals while helping the university fund its initiatives and priorities.

The reasons for creating a named endowment are varied: the satisfaction of supporting academic excellence; the gratification of furthering important research; the pleasure of honoring a spouse, family member, or colleague in a way that is meaningful to him or her; the comfort of memorializing a loved one with a living legacy.

Additionally, creating an endowment may result in tax savings and other financial benefits that may enable you to give more than you might have thought possible.

The minimum gift level required to establish endowments are:

Faculty Support

  • Faculty Awards: $100,000–$499,999
  • Professorships: $500,000–$999,999
  • Distinguished Professorships: $1,000,000–$1,999,999
  • Faculty Chairs: $2,000,000+
  • Dean’s Chairs: $3,000,000+

If a donor wishes to make a cash and estate gift towards a faculty endowment, then the award title will be the cash amount and once the bequest is realized, the award will change to the increased endowment value.

Student Scholarships

  • Undergraduate Scholarship: $25,000
  • Graduate Fellowship: $250,000

A minimum amount of $25,000 is required to establish an endowment; however, this can be pledged over a number of years. The gift for endowment purposes may take any of several forms. It can be an outright gift of cash; appreciated properties such as securities, real estate, and tangible and intangible personal property (art, books, copyrights, oil and gas interests, etc.) acceptable to the university. Endowments can also be created through a gift by will, a charitable trust or other life income plan, retirement plan assets, or an insurance policy. To learn more about planned gifts visit

You can also add to your endowment, beyond the initial funding level, through lifetime gifts, bequests, and beneficiary designations from life insurance or retirement plans. Many businesses and corporations have matching gift programs through which they match—and may double, triple, or increase by even more—donations made by employees. Participation in such a program enables your endowment to reach higher levels faster. UT Advancement staff are available to assist you in selecting a gift arrangement to best meet your financial and charitable goals.

Endowments allow the university to create and maintain excellence in academics beyond what can be accomplished with funding from the state. Endowments provide the funds for scholarships, fellowships, professorships, academic chairs, libraries, and programs that serve as crucial elements in student and faculty recruitment and retention.

When the gift or pledge is received, an Endowed Gift Agreement will be executed between you and the university. The agreement outlines the terms and conditions of your endowment gift. The university cannot change the agreement without the expressed consent of the donor or the donor’s designated representative.

Your fund will be officially endowed once the base funding requirement is fulfilled. The university will then administer your fund in adherence to the terms of agreement. You will receive an annual report on the use of your endowment funds from the chancellor of the university.

Your endowment will be invested in the university’s Consolidated Investment Pool (CIP). This pool is invested utilizing the expertise of internal staff at the university who work closely with an outside consultant to craft a dynamic investment program that addresses the needs of all constituents.

Learn more about the University of Tennessee’s Endowment by visiting the Investment Office.

To learn more about creating a lasting legacy through an endowment, contact