How well-endowed is Ryerson?

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By Viviane Fairbank

Following Ryerson’s payout policy, 3.5 per cent of investment generated from this year’s endowment fund will be used towards scholarships and bursaries, as opposed to 4.5 per cent from the year before. That means the student body won’t be receiving as much aid as it has in the past.

“Due to the impact of the economy on investment income generated by Ryerson’s endowments for the 2012-13 awards cycle, the monetary value of some awards may be less than the amounts stated on web sites, application forms, etc,” says the message at the beginning of Ryerson University’s Scholarships and Bursaries webpage, to account for the fact that the revenue on Ryerson’s endowment fund hasn’t been sufficient to fully accommodate 2012-2013 students.

Adam Kahan, Ryerson’s vice president of university advancement, says that the university’s Board of Governors decided to lower the payout rate because of Canada’s latest recessions. All universities have reduced their payout rate recently, he claims.

Despite this cutback, Ryerson’s endowment fund is an impressive one. Kahan told The Eyeopener in 2010 that Ryerson had the fastest growing endowment fund in Canada, increasing at a rate of 400 per cent. Today the account has a grand total of $99,600,000.

The endowment fund has been growing mainly due to new donations as opposed to the investment itself. Kahan overlooks the Ryerson department that handles these donations and the fundraising necessary to secure them.

“We are constantly approaching donors who are friendly to universities … sometimes corporations and companies as well as individuals,” says Kahan.

Ryerson’s development team presents large scale donors with the opportunity to name facilities after themselves, to increase the incentive for people to extend their generosity to the university.

The difference between someone simply donating money to Ryerson and someone starting an endowment fund is simple: “When money goes into an endowment, it’s there forever,” says Kahan.

Whenever a donor gives Ryerson a gift of $25,000 or more, an endowment fund can be created. This means that the money will not be spent, but instead invested. Only a fraction of that fund’s investment will then be spent on different as aspects of the school.

This philanthropic opportunity is appealing to those who would like their name to be kept in Ryerson history.

For example, Kahan says, a donor can start an endowment fund directed towards a scholarship, which he, his children, his grandchildren and his descendants onwards will be able to present to the university every year. They also receive an annual report detailing the value and use of their investment.

Funds can also be used to support a Chair position, facilities, infrastructure, bursaries and other options at Ryerson.

Ryerson decides which faculties will benefit from the endowment fund. Twenty-two per cent of the endowment goes into the Ted Rogers School of Management (TRSM).

The next greatest portion goes to the faculty of communication and design (FCAD) at 18 per cent. A list of different faculties and university wide initiatives follow, with the faculties of arts and continuing education as the fund’s smallest beneficiaries.

Endowment tidbits

$99,600,000

Ryerson’s current endowment fund according to VP university advancement Adam Kahan

 $3,000

Amount of Ryerson endowment per full-time student in 2010

Less than 5% of Ryerson Alumni donated to the university in 2010

More than 10% of Ryerson Alumni donated to the university from 1998 – 2002

Just under 3,000 donations from non-alumni in 2010, less than 500 were corporations

$5,000,000 was the approximate annual level of donation in 2010. Donations peaked in 2007 at $25,000,000.

$1,539,400,000

University of Toronto’s total endowment in 2011, colleges excluded, from their Financial Report

Information from Ryerson Performance Indicators Report (January 2012)

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