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Largest Endowments Funds ranked by Total Assets in 2024

Ricardo Fernandes| Updated January 18th, 2024

For many years, endowment funds have played a crucial role in society. Managed by non-profit organisations such as universities, charities, religious institutions, and art foundations, these funds actively contribute to societal development.

Endowment funds are designed to ensure the sustainability of non-profit organisations, acting as strategically invested funds generating revenue for their activities. Supported by gifts and donations, endowment funds are prevalent in most U.S. universities, museums, and hospitals.

Therefore, the Total Assets of these funds represent a crucial metric in assessing their health. The scale, coupled with effective management by the organisation, plays a pivotal role in generating income to finance these organisations.

Here’s the list of the largest endowment funds in the world by Total Assets (AUM):

Endowment Funds Total Assets* (AUM) Last Date Reported Region
Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) $76.1 billion** December, 2022 Japan
Harvard Management Company $50.7 billion June, 2023 United States
Ensign Peak Advisors, Inc $46.8 billion September, 2023 United States
Stanford Management Company $40.9 billion June, 2023 United States
Yale University $40.7 billion June, 2023 United States
Princeton University Investment Company $34.1 billion June, 2023 United States
MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) $23.5 billion June, 2023 United States
KAUST Investment Management Company $23.5 billion*** November, 2023 Saudi Arabia
University of Notre Dame du Lac $20.9 billion June, 2023 United States
Columbia Investment Management Company (IMC) $18.7 billion June, 2023 United States
University of Michigan $17.9 billion June, 2023 United States
Church Pension Fund $17 billion March, 2023 United States
Kamehameha Schools $15.1 billion June, 2022 United States
Northwestern University $14.4 billion January, 2023 United States
University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIMCO) $13.9 billion June, 2023 United States

*All total assets (AUM) are denominated in US dollars (USD). For foreign exchanges, such as the Japanese yen, the exchange rate used was USD/JPY for the period corresponding to the report.
**The exchange rate applied is as of the close on 31/12/2022 (Source: Yahoo Finance).
***The presented value is an estimate sourced from an external reference (Source: Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute – SWFI).

With over $76.1 billion in Total Assets, the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) boasts the largest endowment fund globally, followed by the esteemed University of Harvard endowment fund, with total assets amounting to $50.7 billion.

It’s worth noting that we have nine universities on the list of 15 elements presented above. This underscores the significance of endowment funds in the United States. Some of these funds have Assets under Management (AUM) values exceeding certain countries’ Gross Domestic Product (GDP), including Iceland and Estonia.

Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST)

  • Total assets (AUM): $76.1 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): December 2022
  • Region: Japan
japan science and technology agency

The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) established the Japan University Fund in March 2022 to acquire financial resources for the sustained and stable support of universities acknowledged for their international research excellence and doctoral students nationwide. As of December 2022, this endowment fund managed assets totalling $76.1 billion, with a significant emphasis on global fixed income, constituting 54.6% of the portfolio.

Harvard Management Company

  • Total assets (AUM): $50.7 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): June 2023
  • Region: United States
harvard logo

Harvard’s endowment is a steadfast and enduring funding reservoir that sustains the educational and research objectives of the University. It is overseen by Harvard Management Company, established in 1974, which manages and invests the funds as a distinct entity. The proceeds from these funds constitute over a third of the University’s yearly operational budget. In the academic year 2022/2023, Harvard achieved a milestone in financial aid, distributing $414 million to students throughout the University.

Ensign Peak Advisors, Inc

  • Total assets (AUM): $46.8 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): September 2023
  • Region: United States
the church of jesus christ logo

Ensign Peak Advisors serves as the investment manager for the assets of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church). Ensign Peak gained relevance last year when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) publicly accused it of failing to submit disclosure forms related to the Church’s equity investments. 

Stanford Management Company

  • Total assets (AUM): $40.9 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): June 2023
  • Region: United States
stanford logo

Stanford Management Company (SMC) oversees the management of Stanford University’s Endowment and other financial assets, strategically investing to ensure sustained, long-term support for the university. The Endowment Fund is crucial in advancing Stanford’s academic mission, facilitating groundbreaking research, sustaining a distinguished faculty, and contributing to student financial aid. As of June 2023, the endowment fund boasts assets totalling $40.9 billion, with a notable focus on privacy, comprising 38% of the portfolio.

Yale University

  • Total assets (AUM): $40.7 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): June 2023
  • Region: United States
yale-logo

The Yale Investments Office manages the University’s Endowment, which amounts to $40.7 billion as of June 30, 2023. This fund is sustained by contributions and returns generated through Yale’s investment strategy. The influence of the Endowment fund is evident at Yale; in 2005, 43% of graduates left with student loan debt, whereas in 2021, only 15% did so. This reduction was significantly supported by the Endowment fund.

Princeton University Investment Company

  • Total assets (AUM): $34.1 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): June 2023
  • Region: United States
princeton logo

The Princeton University Investment Company oversees Princeton University’s endowment fund, aiming to provide steady support for the University’s current and future operational needs while preserving tangible value for future generations. The management team’s goal is to achieve annual returns exceeding 10%. Such outcomes are attainable only through an equity-focused strategy, as evidenced by the 30% weighted average of private equity within the fund.

MIT Investment Management Company (MITIMCo)

  • Total assets (AUM): $23.5 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): June 2023
  • Region: United States
MIT logo

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Investment Management Company (MITIMCo) oversees MIT’s endowment fund. The fund currently holds total assets (AUM) of $23.5 billion as of June 2023. The management team operates on the assumption that inflation will average around 3% over the long term and MIT’s spending rate will average around 5%. This implies that the fund needs to generate an annual return of approximately 8% to meet its goal. In recent years, this target has been exceeded, as evidenced in the annual reports.

KAUST Investment Management Company

  • Total assets (AUM): $23.5 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): November 2023
  • Region: Saudi Arabia
KAUST logo

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) possesses an endowment fund supervised and managed by the KAUST Investment Management Company. The fund’s primary goal is to advance science and technology through unique and collaborative research integrated with graduate education. KAUST aspires to act as a catalyst for innovation, economic development, and social prosperity in Saudi Arabia and globally.

University of Notre Dame du Lac

  • Total assets (AUM): $20.9 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): June 2023
  • Region: United States
university of notre dame logo

The Notre Dame Investment Office oversees the management of the Notre Dame Endowment and other financial assets of the University. The Endowment serves as a robust financial cornerstone, supporting the University’s mission both presently and for the benefit of future generations. In the fiscal year 2022, 43% of the fund’s revenues were allocated to scholarships and fellowships, underscoring the significant impact of this financial resource.

Columbia Investment Management Company (IMC)

  • Total assets (AUM): $18.7 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): June 2023
  • Region: United States
columbia college logo

The Columbia Investment Management Company (IMC) is a subsidiary of Columbia University, responsible for overseeing the University’s endowments and serving as a pivotal financial pillar. Established in 2002, the IMC effectively allocates resources for professorships, financial aid, research, and various institutional requirements. As of June 2023, the endowment fund has reached a total assets under management of $18.7 million.

University of Michigan

  • Total assets (AUM): $17.9 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): June 2023
  • Region: United States
university of michigan logo

The University of Michigan has an endowment fund valued at $17.9 billion as of June 30, 2023. The university’s long-term investment portfolio exhibits a 20-year annualised return of 9.9%, surpassing the median 20-year annualised return of 7.6% observed among comparable institutions. This performance guarantees that the endowment fund provides the university with financial resources, securing its long-term sustainability.

Church Pension Fund

  • Total assets (AUM): $17 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): March 2023
  • Region: United States
church pension group logo

The Church Pension Fund is a private, tax-exempt organisation that has been in continuous operation since 1917. The Investment Team is dedicated to ensuring the generation of sufficient long-term returns to uphold the commitments made to beneficiaries for years to come. As of March 2023, the Fund has total assets under management of $17 billion. The fund also aims for an annualised return of 7%, a goal that has been exceeded by 1.4% over the past 10 years.

Kamehameha Schools

  • Total assets (AUM): $15.1 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): June 2022
  • Region: United States
kamehameha logo

Kamehameha Schools oversees an endowment fund situated in Honolulu, Hawaii, established in 1887. The endowment supports educational initiatives, enhancing the capacity and welfare of individuals of Hawaiian descent. As of June 2022, the fund boasted total assets amounting to $15.1 billion.

Northwestern University

  • Total assets (AUM): $14.4 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): January 2023
  • Region: United States
northwestern university logo

Northwestern University’s Endowment aims to generate a steady and expanding income stream to bolster the academic and research objectives of the University for present and forthcoming generations. Managed by the Investment Office, which strategically allocates funds across a diverse range of assets to optimise portfolio stability and growth, the fund, as of January 2023, holds assets totalling $14.4 billion. It surpasses the targeted annualised return after accounting for inflation and spending at 1.8%.

University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIMCO)

  • Total assets (AUM): $13.9 billion
  • Date Reported (AUM): June 2023
  • Region: United States
university of virginia logo

The University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIMCO) offers investment management services to the University of Virginia, aiming to generate investment returns that contribute to the university’s mission. In 2022, UVIMCO released its inaugural Investor Responsibility Report, grounded in the belief that the purposeful integration of ESG considerations improves investment processes and boosts long-term, risk-adjusted investment returns.

Types of Endowment Funds

There are essentially four types of endowment funds. While, in a nutshell, they all have more or less the same objectives, these can be achieved through different pathways. To understand the true essence of each fund, we’ve compiled an explanation and an example of each type of endowment fund.

Unrestricted Endowment Fund

Unrestricted endowment funds are those for which the donor hasn’t specified any particular purpose for the funds. An example could be an alumnus who provided a substantial amount of money to his past university without specifying any restrictions. The university can use the returns on this endowment fund to support a variety of needs, such as faculty development, campus infrastructure improvements, or general operating expenses.

Restricted Endowment Fund

The restricted endowment funds have specific conditions or restrictions set by the donor. A philanthropist donates money to a hospital with the condition that the funds are exclusively used for cancer research. The hospital establishes a restricted endowment fund, and the returns from this fund are dedicated to supporting ongoing cancer research initiatives.

Quasi-Endowment Fund

Quasi-endowment funds are a bit like endowed funds, but they don’t have the permanent rule that true endowments do. Institutions often set up quasi-endowment funds to work like endowments, giving them a steady source of income. The difference is they can still change or use the money for something else in the future if they need to.

Imagine a cultural place getting a big donation to take care of a special exhibit. Instead of saying the money can only be used for that exhibit forever, they create a quasi-endowment fund. Even though the money is meant for the exhibit, the place can still use it for something else if the exhibit isn’t important later on.

Term Endowment Fund

Term endowment funds exist for a set period, unlike regular endowments that aim to last forever. They are created for a specific purpose and only for a certain time. For example, a university gets a donation to build a new library, but the donor says the money can only be used for this purpose for 20 years after the library is finished. This sets up a term endowment fund, ensuring the funds are used for the library during that time. After 20 years, the university can use the money for something else if they want.

Bottom Line

The Total Assets (AUM) is a crucial indicator for endowment funds, as it directly influences revenue generation for their intended purposes. These funds typically aim to generate income for a specified purpose or range of purposes. Therefore, the larger the fund, the greater its nominal revenue.

In this article, we ranked the world’s largest endowment funds based on their total assets. Notably, most of the featured funds are associated with North American universities, where these types of funds hold particular significance. 

We also clarified the four types of existing endowment funds,  providing explanations and illustrative examples to differentiate between each.

Ricardo Fernandes
Fintech Analyst

Ricardo Fernandes is an undergraduate management student with a passion for finance and business. He serves as the CEO of one of Portugal's most promising junior initiatives, the Minho Investment Association, and holds the role of Ambassador for the renowned BIG-4 firm, Ernst & Young (EY).

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