Endowments are comprised of funds, investment managers and pools. This article will review the relationship between these three building blocks of an endowment 


fund refers to a specific endowment, usually established by a donor for a specific purpose. Each fund includes gifts as well as earnings after the gifts were received.   


manager is a specific investment that is held within the endowment, usually reported on a single investment statement. This could be a specific equity, or a mutual fund, cash, or any other single, specific investment. 


pool is a collection of funds which, as a group, are invested into a collection of investment managers. All funds are housed together/commingled within the investment managers that make up their pool. Any funds which are separately invested will have a separate pool. 

  • Because the funds are co-mingled within the investment managers that make up a specific pool, there is no one to one direct relationship between specific managers and specific funds. 

The endowment as a whole may have multiple pools within it, each pool having its own distinct funds and managers.  


The relationship between managers, funds, and their corresponding pool can be pictured graphically as: 



If an organization has separately invested funds (often annuities or funds with donor restrictions regarding investment), then the organization may have multiple pools. The endowment includes all the pools, but each pool has its own unique managers and funds, as pictured below.