President Napolitano announces matching fund to create 100 new endowed chairs at UC

University of California President Janet Napolitano will spur private giving to UC through a new matching fund that could add 100 endowed faculty chairs to the UC system over the next five years.

Napolitano announced the Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs today (July 16) during her opening remarks at the UC Board of Regents meeting.

The program initially allocates $4 million per campus for use as an incentive to encourage donors to establish endowed faculty chairs. It is funded through the Presidential Endowment Fund, a source of private donations that the president may use at her discretion to support university activities.

Each President’s Match will be $500,000. Campuses must raise at least $500,000 per chair in donor funds to qualify for the match, but campuses may require a larger donor gift if they choose to do so.

Napolitano told the board that she launched the program because endowed chairs are so vital to UC's efforts to attract and retain top-flight faculty. Once established, these endowed chairs will provide a dedicated source of funds, in perpetuity, for the chair holder's scholarly activities as well as support for faculty salaries and graduate fellowships.

That kind of guaranteed support gives UC a competitive edge for recruiting faculty who are the very best in their field. And it helps the university bridge funding gaps in state support, she said.

"Given our ongoing budget challenges, it is imperative that we develop new models of philanthropy that recognize and honor the interests of our donors while helping UC address its long-term funding needs," Napolitano told the board. "The Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs helps us achieve both of those goals."

The initial allocation will be distributed equally to all 10 locations, creating as many as eight new endowed chairs at each campus, Napolitano said.

She will allocate another $10 million in matching funds in subject areas that she considers to be of high strategic importance to California and the world. In making those allocations, Napolitano said she would also consider campus need and the ability to attract a match.

Napolitano's actions come as UC looks to develop new revenue sources to augment state appropriations.  Private giving is seen as one important component of that effort, and many campuses have ambitious fundraising campaigns under way.

In 2013, UC received a record $1.64 billion in private gifts. Donations from alumni, foundations and other supporters now enhance virtually every aspect of the university, from student financial support to leading-edge research facilities.

Endowed faculty chairs are particularly important to that effort, and UC has been gratified to see donors step up to fund them. In 1980, the entire UC system had just 81 endowed chairs. Today there are about 1,700 – and nearly half of those were created since 2000.

"It's hard to overstate the importance of endowed faculty chairs to UC's teaching and research mission," Napolitano said. "By supporting these endowed chairs, donors will be creating a lasting legacy at the university – one that will benefit many generations to come."