Endowment Fund

Keeping Winchester Thurston Strong

Among independent schools nationally, regionally and locally, Winchester Thurston has become known as the smart place to learn and to teach. WT has garnered impressive accolades that place us in the company of the nation’s truly great independent schools and one of the best Pittsburgh private schools. A strong endowment links together past, current, and future generations by enabling the school to maintain and enhance the quality of education in perpetuity.

A strong endowment also ensures that our faculty maintain innovative classrooms that prepare their students to achieve, compete, thrive, and contribute in the 21st century. Plus, a strong financial aid program offers the best and brightest students a seat in our classrooms, access to our community-building extracurricular activities, and engagement in character building opportunities which extend beyond the classroom, regardless of ability to pay.

Strengthening WT’s endowment is a critical factor in our ability to maintain and increase momentum, and remains one of our highest priorities. As our enrollment has grown, so has our need to increase the resources that support our rigorous, dynamic, and relevant learning community.

How Does WT’s Endowment Work?

The endowment is a school's permanent "savings account." It is comprised of charitable gifts that were made to establish individual named funds within WT’s General Endowment Fund. The charitable gifts a donor gives create the principal, or corpus. Additional contributions can always be added to the principal since a donor’s endowment fund remains a permanent piece of WT’s future.

A donor may choose to designate his/her endowment fund for a specific purpose, or simply support WT’s General Endowment Fund--which allows the school to meet its most critical needs year after year. Winchester Thurston is grateful for the perpetual support provided by generous donors who have invested in the people and programs at our school.

The investment income from endowment gifts, sometimes called the fund's “interest,” is used to support the specific purpose chosen by the donor. Endowment funds are designed to be used at the discretion of the Head of School and are typically used to:

  • Support financial aid and scholarships
  • Enhance extraordinary programs
  • Equip and maintain facilities
  • Fund faculty chairs and professional development

How does WT ensure the health of its endowment?

The Board of Trustees oversees WT’s General Endowment Fund. An Investment Subcommittee of the Finance Committee meets regularly with WT’s investment manager, Hirtle Callaghan, to monitor performance.

The fundamental objective is to prudently manage and invest assets to achieve maximum long-term growth of principal at an acceptable level of risk, while allowing for a payout of funds to support operations. The Board has established policies on investment practices, asset allocations, and spending rules. Independent auditors review endowment spending each year.

The Endowment is invested so that the principal will grow over time. A small portion of the fund's earned income (5% of the average value over the trailing 12 quarters) is paid out on an annual basis, and used to operate the school.

For more information, please contact: Monica Manes Gay, Executive Director of Institutional Advancement, at 412-578-3746 or gaym@winchesterthurston.org.