2019-20 Endowment Fund Report
University School of Milwaukee’s endowment is an essential investment in the school’s ability to maintain its leading edge as a nationally ranked independent school. From academics to athletics, and arts to innovation, life at USM is rich with activities as diverse as our student population. These valuable activities require funding to support the people and programs that contribute to the attainment of the school’s annual objectives. The school’s endowment, originating with the predecessor schools and growing in value over time thanks to donor contributions and market growth, provides a significant portion of this funding annually. USM is grateful for all donors who have supported the endowment over the years, including the over 40 Our Common Bond investors who designated their gifts to this campaign priority, thus helping to increase the impact of the endowment now and in perpetuity.
As of June 30, 2020, USM’s endowment is valued over $80 million and consists of a combination of general endowment as well as nearly 90 named, endowed funds (listed on the adjacent page) established by USM donors to directly support school priorities. In keeping with our long-standing endowment policy, 5% of the average fund value of the trailing eight quarters is distributed to the fund’s designated program, or in the case of general endowment, to all aspects of the school’s core mission. In this manner, the endowment inspires our community members to invest in an area of school life that is meaningful to them and their families while helping USM educate students as learners, leaders, and citizens for lives of purpose. Additionally, since the start of the COVID-19 Pandemic, the endowment has helped USM implement strategic and mission-focused solutions to key situations, allowing the school to maintain its commitment to excellence in education for our 1,100 students.
For independent schools like USM, endowment is the differentiator between sustaining and thriving. The National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) has established a guideline that independent schools should aim to achieve an endowment valued at three times their annual budget in order to be a successful school into the next decade. At USM we take this very seriously as we are approaching, but have not yet achieved, this level.
USM’s Endowment Board is led by President Tom Florsheim ’76 and is comprised of former members of the Board of Trustees. The endowment is managed by CommonFund, a nonprofit investment management firm that serves over 2,000 independent schools, universities, and nonprofit organizations. The school’s endowment policy follows a long-term investment strategy, calling for a 75/25 equity-to-fixed income ratio with meaningful international exposure and a careful commitment to alternative investments such as private equity. The thoughtful generosity of our donors allows the endowment to continue supporting our students and school of today and the future.
University School of Milwaukee is an exempt organization as described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; USM’s tax ID #39-6076442.