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Ranked: The World’s Top 50 Endowment Funds

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Infographic showing the World's Top 50 Largest Endowment Funds

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Ranked: The World’s Top 50 Endowment Funds

What do Harvard, the Church Commissioners for England, the NYC Metropolitan Museum of Art, and an entity on behalf of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah all have in common? They all have endowment funds.

An endowment fund is the investment arm of nonprofit institutions like universities, charities, and churches. The purpose of the fund is to invest the organization’s assets to fuel future operations and other important projects.

The world’s largest endowment funds have billions in investable assets, making them sizable players in the finance sector. Here, using data from Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute, we take a closer look at the world’s largest endowment funds by total assets.

Types of Endowment Funds

Overall, there are four main types of endowment structures.

  • Unrestricted Endowment: A fund structure where assets are used at the full discretion of the institution
  • Term Endowment: A fund structure with a fixed term time period before the principal can be spent
  • Quasi Endowment: A donation to an endowment with a specific purpose to deploy that capital
  • Restricted Endowment: A fund structure where the principal value from donations is held forever and only returns generated on the principal can be used

In addition, each endowment fund has different structures in regards to withdrawals, use of funds, and their general investment philosophy.

The Largest Endowment Funds

The largest endowment funds can be compared on a grand economic scale, in terms of assets.

To put it all into perspective, the largest 50 endowment funds represent over a trillion dollars in assets. Or for a more singular example, look at Harvard’s fund, which has an endowment greater than the entire GDP of countries like Serbia, Bolivia, or Slovenia.

Here’s how the top 50 rank.

RankEndowment FundTotal AssetsRegion
1Ensign Peak Advisors, Inc$124,000,000,000North America
2Japan Science and Technology Agency$80,700,000,000Asia
3Stanford University$75,143,751,000North America
4Harvard Management Company$72,781,329,000North America
5Yale University$56,223,259,000North America
6Princeton University$44,460,038,000North America
7MIT Investment Management Company$42,526,492,000North America
8Duke University$30,385,835,000North America
9New York University$27,840,535,000North America
10Columbia University in the City of New York$24,698,782,000North America
11University of Notre Dame$24,599,541,000North America
12KAUST Investment Management Company$23,500,000,000Middle East
13Emory University$20,458,905,000North America
14Johns Hopkins University$18,037,751,000North America
15Church Pension Fund$17,773,649,171North America
16University of Chicago$17,276,136,000North America
17Ohio State University$16,006,851,000North America
18Northwestern University$15,855,683,000North America
19Washington University in St Louis$15,103,569,000North America
20Penn State University, Office of Investment Management$15,017,272,000North America
21Notre Dame of Maryland University$14,938,580,253North America
22Cornell University$14,850,618,000North America
23University of Southern California$14,495,427,000North America
24Vanderbilt University$13,883,495,000North America
25University of Virginia Investment Management Compnay$13,811,076,000North America
26University of Tokyo$13,285,270,000Asia
27National University of Singapore$12,626,100,000Asia
28UNC Management Company$11,986,857,000North America
29University of Michigan Office of Investments$11,900,000,000North America
30General Authority of Awqaf$11,238,371,192Middle East
31Church Commissioners for England$11,197,700,000Europe
32J.Paul Getty Trust$10,778,927,000North America
33Trinity Wall Street Episcopal Church$9,932,419,000North America
34Unitersity of Utah$9,827,602,000North America
35Brown University$9,793,108,000North America
36Kamehameha Schools$9,326,013,000North America
37Dartmouth College$9,078,340,000North America
38Hong Kong Jockey Club$8,603,580,000Asia
39Rice University$8,424,555,000North America
40The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust$8,313,588,000North America
41University of Pittsburgh$8,011,856,000North America
42Nature Conservancy$7,870,380,000North America
43University of Toronto Asset Management Corporation$7,329,730,000North America
44University of Rochester$7,149,025,000North America
45Virginia Commonwealth University$6,985,495,306North America
46Purdue University$6,755,500,000North America
47University of Miami$6,582,600,000North America
48University of Minnesota$6,304,508,000North America
49Caltech Investment Office$6,252,584,000North America
50Metropolitan Museum of Art of New York City$5,588,554,000North America

The largest endowment fund, Ensign Peak Advisors, is based in Salt Lake City, Utah, and manages the assets for the Mormon Church (officially known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints). The church itself has over 16 million members worldwide and is the fourth largest church in America.

The Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) is a national research and development agency that plays a core role in promoting technology, innovation, and science within society. In 1995, Japan’s government passed the Science and Technology Basic Plan and the JST came to life and now has over $80 billion in assets as well as offices in Paris, Washington, Singapore, and Beijing.

Just two funds come from the Middle East. The King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) with $23.5 billion and the General Authority of Awqaf. KAUST is ranked 95th amongst universities in the world and made history in the country by being Saudi Arabia’s first mixed-gender university.

The General Authority of Awqaf has $11 billion in assets and was established as a public authority to manage endowments and enhance Saudi Arabia’s various goals for societal development. “Awqaf” in Arabic loosely translates to assets that are donated or purchased for general or specific charitable causes that are socially beneficial.

On the environmental side is the Nature Conservancy, which has $7.8 billion in assets. The charity is estimated to have protected more than 100 million acres of land.

American Universities Dominate

Universities are one leading category from the world of endowment funds, particularly those from the United States. In fact, universities make up 39 of the top 50 endowment funds, with 35 of them based in America.

Historically, Harvard has been the largest, but Stanford has edged ahead in recent years. Stanford has $75 billion in assets compared to Harvard’s $73 billion. These vast amounts of money have not gone unnoticed, and elite universities are facing mounting criticism in some circles.

“When Harvard’s total admitted freshman class is 1,400 people—and they have an endowment that is the GDP of El Salvador—they’re not a nonprofit, they’re a hedge fund educating the children of their investors.” – Professor Scott Galloway

With student debt rising to $1.6 trillion, it’s likely these universities may face greater criticism around how they use the wealth available to them in endowment funds.

Sizable Influence

The top endowment funds carry considerable influence within the world of finance. While they all have billions to invest, each has very different objectives and intentions on how to deploy their capital.

And despite being non-profit organizations, endowment funds are seeing their overall assets exceed those held by many other investment funds, such as sovereign wealth funds, hedge funds, and private equity firms.

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Wealth

Visualizing the Tax Burden of Every U.S. State

Tax burden measures the percent of an individual’s income that is paid towards taxes. See where it’s the highest by state in this graphic.

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Visualizing the Tax Burden of Every U.S. State

This was originally posted on our Voronoi app. Download the app for free on iOS or Android and discover incredible data-driven charts from a variety of trusted sources.

This map graphic visualizes the total tax burden in each U.S. state as of March 2024, based on figures compiled by WalletHub.

It’s important to understand that under this methodology, the tax burden measures the percent of an average person’s income that is paid towards state and local taxes. It considers property taxes, income taxes, and sales & excise tax.

Data and Methodology

The figures we used to create this graphic are listed in the table below.

StateTotal Tax Burden
New York12.0%
Hawaii11.8%
Vermont11.1%
Maine10.7%
California10.4%
Connecticut10.1%
Minnesota10.0%
Illinois9.7%
New Jersey9.5%
Rhode Island9.4%
Utah9.4%
Kansas9.3%
Maryland9.3%
Iowa9.2%
Nebraska9.2%
Ohio8.9%
Indiana8.9%
Arkansas8.8%
Mississippi8.8%
Massachusetts8.6%
Virginia8.5%
West Virginia8.5%
Oregon8.4%
Colorado8.4%
Pennsylvania8.4%
Wisconsin8.3%
Louisiana8.3%
Kentucky8.3%
Washington8.0%
New Mexico8.0%
Michigan8.0%
North Carolina7.9%
Idaho7.9%
Arizona7.8%
Missouri7.8%
Georgia7.7%
Texas7.6%
Alabama7.5%
Montana7.5%
South Carolina7.5%
Nevada7.4%
Oklahoma7.0%
North Dakota6.8%
South Dakota6.4%
Delaware6.4%
Tennessee6.1%
Florida6.1%
Wyoming5.7%
New Hampshire5.6%
Alaska4.9%

From this data we can see that New York has the highest total tax burden. Residents in this state will pay, on average, 12% of their income to state and local governments.

Breaking this down into its three components, the average New Yorker pays 4.6% of their income on income taxes, 4.4% on property taxes, and 3% in sales & excise taxes.

At the other end of the spectrum, Alaska has the lowest tax burden of any state, equaling 4.9% of income. This is partly due to the fact that Alaskans do not pay state income tax.

Hate Paying Taxes?

In addition to Alaska, there are several other U.S. states that don’t charge income taxes. These are: Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming.

It’s also worth noting that New Hampshire does not have a regular income tax, but does charge a flat 4% on interest and dividend income according to the Tax Foundation.

Learn More About Taxation From Visual Capitalist

If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out this graphic which ranks the countries with the lowest corporate tax rates, from 1980 to today.

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