Sky's the Limit
Pomfret's endowment continues to soar.
BY ED GRIFFIN, CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER
"How is your endowment doing?" This has become my favorite question to answer since the close of our fiscal year on June 30, 2021. Our endowment is doing great! Last year alone, it grew by a whopping 33 percent — from $55.4 to $73.4 million.
The endowment at Pomfret School is a mission-critical vessel, which annually subsidizes a tad over 10 percent of the $22 million operating budget. Having this level of recurring support is imperative as we strive to reduce reliance on net tuition as our primary revenue source. We, of course, have a long way to go in our quest not to be a tuition-dependent school. Net tuition currently funds about three-quarters of the School’s annual budget and is our “bread and butter” revenue line item.
"An endowment of at least $100 million would better meet the many demands of the operating budget."
To promote growth of the endowment, we have twice adjusted our spending formula in the last five years. This formula calculates the amount of money provided in support of the annual operating budget. By reducing the draw on the endowment, we are betting on the long-term. Through the power of compounding, each dollar not utilized today will provide an even greater return tomorrow.
In addition, our endowment is being successfully managed by a third-party chief investment officer. Our results speak for themselves, and Pomfret has benefitted from having exposure to private investments, which are generally illiquid, but have greater upside in terms of total return. See the table below for investment return results.
Our endowment currently provides steady and stable support, and yet, Pomfret is still an under-endowed school. An endowment of at least $100 million would better meet the many demands of the operating budget. Specifically, it would help us moderate tuition increases, increase financial aid, raise faculty compensation, and better support the annual maintenance of our plant.
As Pomfret prepares to publicly launch the largest fundraising campaign in our history, our ambition is to significantly grow the endowment through major gift contributions while also increasing annual giving to the Pomfret Fund. Pomfret Fund gifts enable the School to draw more prudently from the endowment, preserving the capital to strengthen the School’s financial sustainability, enhance programs, and benefit current and future students.