Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy 2009
Building an Endowment with Community Support

All Publications

Endowments are often thought of as a source of reliable support for established institutions such as universities and foundations, but in recent years online academic resources have also begun experimenting with the endowment model as a means of sustainable funding. The model holds forth the promise of guaranteeing access to a resource in perpetuity, with the investment returns from the endowment continuously generating funds to sustain the resource. Since 2004, the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy has successfully raised three-quarters of a planned $4.125 million endowment. This case study highlights the factors that make a project a strong candidate for an endowment model, describes the steps that are necessary for implementing such a model, and explores the advantages and disadvantages of endowment funding.


Sustainability Planning Tool