Generous gifts from donors to the AADC have provided vital financial support to Douglass since the AADC was established by the first graduating class in 1922.
In 1969, the AADC created the Douglass Fund Trust for the exclusive benefit of Douglass and its students with an initial deposit of $1000. Thanks to donations, bequests, other testamentary gifts and prudent management by the AADC, the Fund was worth more than $440,000,000+, as of 2023.
This endowment is the source of funding for scholarships, programs and special projects at Douglass. Distributions from the Trust fulfill donors’ intent and fund the priorities of the College as defined by the Dean. In fiscal year 2021, $1,476,426 was distributed from the Fund to Douglass.
The Douglass Fund is run by three trustees.
A six-member Douglass Fund Committee that includes representatives from the AADC and the College is responsible for directing distributions from the Fund to the College to satisfy the Dean’s priorities.
The Douglass Fund Trustees are the AADC President, the Executive Director and another President appointed Board member approved by the AADC Board. The Trustees are responsible for investing and managing the assets of the Trust. An AADC Investment Committee comprised of alumnae volunteers who are finance and investment professionals provides advice and recommendations to the AADC Board of Directors and meets quarterly with a professional financial management company that handles day-to-day operations of the investment portfolio.
In addition to the Douglass Fund Trustees, there is a six-member Douglass Fund Committee comprised of the AADC President and her appointee, the Dean of the College and her appointee, one jointly-appointed member and the AADC Executive Director (ex-officio, non-voting). This Committee is responsible for directing distributions from the Trust and monitoring how the funds have been allocated and used by DRC. The Dean continues her traditional role in determining how the money is to be spent each year, consistent with donors’ intent and College priorities.
The amount of money provided to DRC from the Douglass Fund Trust is determined by two factors: a percentage called the “spending rate” and the average value of the endowed funds over a period of time, which depends on the investment performance of the asset’s underlying funds. The average value of the endowed funds is calculated over 13 quarters.
In fiscal year 2021, the Trust provided a distribution of $1,476,426 to Douglass Residential College for student support and college priorities as defined by the Dean. This amount included $825,035 for student financial support (primarily from scholarships created by donors) and $651,391 for other college priorities as defined by the Dean, among them STEM-related programs, the Global Village, student enrollment, fine arts, leadership initiatives, and more.
In addition to funds distributed from the Douglass Fund Trust, in fiscal year 2021, Douglass Residential College was given $275,305 largely from other endowed funds held by the AADC for the benefit of Douglass. This amount included $189,005 for student support and $86,300 for college priorities. Total funds provided to DRC in fiscal year 2021 were $1,751,731.
The AADC provides prudent management of the Douglass Fund and is entitled to take a stewardship fee to cover the cost of administrative expenses. These include transaction processing, state and federal tax and other filings, record-keeping, charitable registrations and other activities. The current fee is 1.25% of assets.
The AADC has surveyed publicly available information on the stewardship/administrative fees charged to college/university endowments nationwide and found that they range from 0.70% to 2.25%. In addition to investment-related activities, the Trustees have utilized the AADC, its staff, and its resources to assist with the business functions necessary for and the proper administration of the Douglass Fund. Below is an outline of some of the numerous functions and services the AADC provides to the Douglass Fund.
- GAAP Financial Statements
- IRS Form 990
- Transaction processing
- Calculation of distributions from the Trust for student support and College priorities
- Preparation of schedules for state charitable registrations
- Meetings and other communications between the AADC and the College
The AADC served as the primary fundraiser for Douglass for decades before formalizing that role under the terms of a 2005 Memorandum of Understanding with Rutgers University and the Rutgers University Foundation.
AADC also conducted three successful capital campaigns for the benefit of Douglass, raising more than $80 million combined. The last capital campaign ended in 2014 and raised $42 million.
The responsibility for raising money for Douglass Residential College was taken over by the Rutgers University Foundation (RUF) and the DRC development team in 2016. Money raised by Douglass or by the RUF is managed by the RUF, rather than through the AADC for the Douglass Fund Trust, which remains the sole responsibility of the AADC.