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Building on basics

Endowments fuel momentum

"An endowment allows the cancer center to use the interest from a contributed fund while not depleting the principal," said Jim Cornwell, chief development officer, donor asset planning, at the UC Davis Health System. "It can be in the form of a single major gift or a combination of smaller ones. Since the principal remains intact, it becomes a perpetual source of income, and through prudent investment, can grow considerably."

Over the last five years, according to Cornwell, money invested in endowments at the university grew from 25 to 30 percent annually. Because only 5 percent of the growth is spent each year, the principal of the endowments has grown substantially.

The Christine Landgraf Memorial Research Award is a good example. Founded in 1973 with an initial donation of about $5,000 and benefitting from additional donations since then, this endowment has provided cancer research funds to 25 scientists at UC Davis. It has also grown steadily and is now valued at more than $126,000.

In creating an endowment, donors may specify how the funds will be used. In the case of the Landgraf fund, for example, the annual awards provide startup grants for research projects related to the treatment of cancer and basic research into the underlying causes. Among the recipients of funding from this endowment is Regina Gandour-Edwards, the pathologist for the skull-base surgery program, featured in this edition of Synthesis.


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Wayne and Jacque Bartholomew are long-time supporters of UC Davis and have created an endowment in honor of UC Davis surgeon James Goodnight.