The first university endowment fund has been established in Lithuania by Vilnius University with an initial €1 million raised from supporters.
Called the Vilnius University Foundation, the endowment fund was supported by Lithuanian laser companies UAB Ekspla and UAB Šviesos konversija and businessman Alvydas Žabolis, of private equity group Zabolis partners. The founders invested €1,000,000.
The return on investments from the fund will be used only for the financing of projects at Vilnius University. The first priority of the fund will be to attract the most talented foreign students and professors to Vilnius University.
“This fund should be seen as a long-term initiative that will last for decades or centuries. The results will bring benefits for future generations. This initiative will ensure our country's cultural, social, technological sustainability. Although university endowment funds are still new to Lithuania, this efficient business and scientific cooperation model is based on global practice,” said Artūras Žukauskas, Vilnius University Rector.
In the US and UK, endowment funds are commonplace. More than 80 US universities have accumulated endowment funds worth over a $1 billion. Harvard University Fund leads they way with a fund worth $36 billion.
The opportunity to establish endowment funds in Lithuania emerged in 2013.