How the State Match and Simons Infinity Investment Will Work
As part of her 2023 budget address, Governor Kathy Hochul announced a state endowment match challenge. The state has allocated $500 million for the program, which is open to SUNY’s four university centers, including Stony Brook. The state match program will match $1 for every $2 given to an endowment. This means that if someone makes a $100,000 endowment gift, the state will add $50,000 to it. The match program, a first for the state, runs through 2026 or until the funds are exhausted.
In June 2023, Jim and Marilyn Simons and the Simons Foundation made a historic gift of $500 million to Stony Brook. It is the largest unrestricted endowment gift in the history of U.S. higher education. An unrestricted endowment gift allows Stony Brook to seize opportunities that will drive the university, its students and its faculty forward. A restricted gift, like the Brands’ endowed scholarship, allows Stony Brook supporters to decide the ultimate impact.
To inspire others to come forward with endowment gifts and take advantage of the state’s matching program, the Simons Foundation structured the first $200 million of its gift to serve as a challenge to other philanthropists. During the next three years, every endowment gift of at least $100,000 to Stony Brook will unlock an equal portion of the Simons Infinity Investment, which will be used in the university’s unrestricted endowment. The state will match both the original gift and the portion of the Simons Infinity Investment that is unlocked. In this way, the impact of every gift is tripled.
“Endowments forever link our donors to Stony Brook,” said Justin Fincher, vice president for Advancement. “The Simons Infinity Investment and the additional giving it inspires will provide endless opportunities for future leaders to invest in the big, bold ideas that will propel Stony Brook forward in ways we cannot yet imagine.”
Shown Above: From left to right: Marilyn and Jim Simons, President Maurie McInnis and Simons Foundation President David Spergel at the announcement of the Simons Infinity investment.
What is an Endowment?
Justin Fincher, vice president for Advancement and executive director of the Stony Brook Foundation, explains what an endowment is and its importance to the future of Stony Brook.
In your own words, what is an endowment?
An endowment is the foundation of the institution. When someone gives to our endowment, their gift will continue to benefit the university in perpetuity. With all endowments, the income generated from the investment is used, while the principal is preserved and will continue to generate interest year after year.
What are the benefits of an endowment gift vs. a current-use gift?
We are grateful for all forms of support, from current-use to endowment. A current-use gift can be used when it is received. An endowment is a permanent legacy. The initial gift or principal is invested, and each year, now and far into the future, the interest on that principal is used to support the university area specified.
What is the difference between restricted and unrestricted endowments?
When someone creates a restricted endowment, they specify which university area they want the funds to support. An unrestricted endowment, like the Simons Infinity Investment, allows the university to invest in the kind of initiatives, programs, and people that will accelerate Stony Brook’s momentum and growth. Unrestricted endowments allow Stony Brook to chase after those moonshot opportunities that will guarantee Stony Brook’s growth for generations.
Why do you feel now is the best time to give back to Stony Brook?
With the state match and the Simons Foundation gift, it really is a generative moment. Both signal that Stony Brook is on the rise. Add to that our recent climb in the U.S. News & World Report rankings to become the number-one public university in New York, number 26 among the nation’s public universities, and number 56 among all universities nationwide, and there really is no better time than now to invest in Stony Brook.
To learn more about endowments, please visit this Advancement web page.