LSE's endowment: an essential means for our long-term ambition

Endowed gifts are the only sustainable form of income that can put us in complete control of our own longterm financial destiny.

Since 1895, our founding purpose of acting for the betterment of society has continued to run through everything that we do. Throughout this time endowed gifts have made a meaningful and impactful contribution to our provision of education and research. In a fast evolving sector, improving the growth and position of our overall endowment is absolutely integral to ensuring that we can continue to engage with and address critical societal challenges.

The impact of an endowed gift is twofold. First, the gift is added to LSE’s endowment. This means, because its capital value is held by the School, it helps to improve our overall financial health. Second, because the gift can be accounted for separately, it has the ability to provide funding for a particular purpose through the return on investment that it generates. Usually this would be a scholarship, Chair, fellowship, research centre or research fund. 

During the 2016/17 financial year, philanthropic gifts continued to help to drive up our total endowment, growing from £119.2 million at the start of the period to £132.7 million at the end. This level is fairly typical of many of our peers in the UK, but is dwarfed by some of our contemporaries, particularly some of those in the US.

Endowed gifts from alumni and friends are grouped into a specific pooled portfolio of around 120 individual funds that each have a defined purpose. These are invested collectively, along with select expendable gifts with longer-term horizons, through our Growth Portfolio with the aim of generating maximum total returns for an appropriate level of risk.

LSE’s endowment is monitored and reviewed by the School’s Finance Committee and the Investments Sub-Committee. The latter includes investment professionals who between them contribute decades of investment experience, and is responsible for regularly re-evaluating asset allocation targets and expected risks and returns.

Endowment in action

The Diane Lee Wong Pui Yue Scholarship was established through an endowed gift from an anonymous donor to provide scholarship support for postgraduate students from Hong Kong.

“My scholarship provides financial and emotional relief and freedom, and enables me to benefit from teaching based on the highest-quality empirical research at a world-leading university. I am honoured to be the first recipient of an endowed scholarship that will continue to benefit young people for many generations to come.”

Katy Lau (MSc Social Policy and Planning 2016), the first recipient of the award

An endowed gift is the best way to ensure that your philanthropy will have a lasting impact. There are a number of ways in which the return on investment from an endowed gift can be directed, from scholarships and academic posts to unrestricted purposes. If you would like to discuss how you could support LSE’s people and ideas through an endowed gift, we would be delighted to explore the opportunities with you.