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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

  • What is the Macalester Endowment?

    The Macalester Endowment is a long term investment fund made up almost entirely of private gifts made to the College over the past 100 or more years. The income from the endowment supports scholarships for students, academic programs, and salaries for faculty and staff. The Macalester Endowment increased dramatically in 1990 as the result of a large gift of Readers Digest stock from DeWitt and Lila Wallace.

  • How large is the Macalester Endowment?

    The March 31, 2023 market value of the Endowment was $841 million.

  • Do we still hold Readers Digest stock?

    No, we do not. The last of the 10 million shares of Readers Digest common stock that we received in 1990 were sold in 2002. Our final holdings of Readers Digest preferred stock were liquidated in 2007. The sale proceeds were invested in a diversified portfolio of stocks, bonds, and alternative investments (real assets, private capital, hedge funds).

  • Who manages the Endowment?

    The Investment Office Staff is responsible for the implementation of the College’s endowment investment program under the College’s endowment governance policies and the oversight of the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees. Staff includes Gary Martin, Chief Investment Officer; Derrick Griffin, Managing Director, Alternative Investments; Jeff Doherty, Director, Investment Analysis; and Molly Papetti, Manager of Investment Operations and Reporting. An investment consultant, Cambridge Associates, is retained to assist in asset allocation and other policy matters. 85% of the assets are managed externally, by approximately 48 different investment firms; 12% of the portfolio in Treasuries and cash is managed in-house.

  • What have been the investment returns?

    Our March 31, 2023 one-year net of fees return was -1.3%. The 3, 5, and 10 year annualized returns were 12.3%, 6.5%, and 6.6%, respectively.

  • How much of the Endowment do we spend each year?

    Our distribution policy aims to preserve intergenerational equity, i.e. future students should benefit from the endowment with the same purchasing power as today’s students. Each year approximately 5 percent is distributed from the Endowment based on a formula that is designed to support the College’s activities while preserving the Endowment’s value over time.

  • How can you support Macalester’s mission?

    There are many ways in which you can help ensure the strength of Macalester’s mission for generations to come. One of them is to endow a special fund, arrange a planned gift, or make a contribution to the Macalester Fund (which provides annual support for areas of greatest need). For more information about giving to Macalester, visit