Why life? For Marianne Alexander ’62, the answer was simple; “I loved my student experience so much that I wanted to stay connected to Penn State forever. Becoming a life member of the Alumni Association was clearly the best way to do it.” For Roger Williams ’73, ’75g, ’88g, who became a life member in 1975, life membership represented “a vote of confidence in the future of the University and an expression of support.”
Okay, so these folks bleed blue and white. What about alumni who don’t? What about alumni who ask, “Why life?”
For the Penn State Alumni Association, life membership dues ensure the stability and constancy of programs and initiatives. Placed in a permanently endowed fund—the Life Member Fund—life membership dues are invested for growth and stability. Each year, the Alumni Association withdraws approximately 5.5 percent of the market value of the Life Member Fund to support the Association’s programs and services. Any additional dividends are reinvested so the fund will grow over time.
What’s an endowed fund? Much like a mutual fund, an endowed fund is a carefully balanced portfolio of investments. Unlike a mutual fund, the proceeds or dividends are earmarked to support charitable initiatives. At $31.5 million, the Life Member Fund at Penn State is one of the biggest in the country and a point of pride for the Penn State Alumni Association.
In the past fiscal year, the Life Member Fund has provided approximately $1.5 million to support dozens of worthwhile Alumni Association programs:
- for students—mentoring and career counseling;
- for parents and families—orientations, welcome receptions, parents and families events;
- for alumni—reunions and homecoming;
- for colleges and campuses—constituent society support; and
- for affiliate groups—program support.
So, why life? Because the Life Member Fund, as a carefully invested and managed endowment, provides a stable source of revenue for the Association’s programs for students, parents, alumni, colleges, campuses, and affiliate groups. Not to mention, of course, that it’s the best way to stay connected with Penn State—forever.