McIntire alumni support comes in many forms—time for mentoring students, financial gifts that help the School meet its most pressing needs. Other times, support takes a longer view.
One such example is the Gayner Family Sustainable Investment Fund and Scholarship Program. This unique and inspirational gift was designed by Susan (A&S ’82, Engineering ’83) and Tom Gayner (McIntire ’83). The Gayner Family sought to create a self-perpetuating investment fund aimed at stressing the power of compounding interest over long periods of time. The program hopes student-directed investments will provide the support for countless scholarships starting in 25 years, and beyond.
In It for the Long Haul
For Susan and Tom, the program celebrates their values and lifelong dedication to caring for others, and their belief in the importance of saving and investing with a long-term time horizon. In establishing the fund, they committed to a recurring annual gift for 25 years.
Their inaugural contribution paved the way for any UVA student, who pays the club’s $25 annual dues, to participate in the club and make an investment selection. All dues go into the investment fund and are allocated to investments, with no leakage for club costs. The contribution of real money gives participating students “skin in the game” and psychological buy-in. The fund is required to hold investments for a quarter century.
In 2047, those long-term investments will be liquidated, with half of the proceeds going to the Gayner Family Sustainable Scholarship Fund, and the remaining half will be reinvested. A committee led by the fund’s student leaders from 25 years prior will select that year’s scholarship recipients.
The process will continue each year hence. Investments from the first year will be liquidated and divided in year 26, those from the second year settled and split in year 27, and so on.
The first installment of the Gayner gift was followed with support from other enthusiastic alumni, friends, and corporate partners such as Markel, where Tom has worked for over 30 years and is now the CEO.
Tyler Brown (McIntire ’05), Tom’s colleague and Managing Director, Investments at Markel, is involved raising awareness about the Gayner Family Sustainable Investment Fund and Scholarship Program, working with the student leaders, and even donating to the fund.
The UVA students participating in the club are searching for companies with resilient and growing businesses that are likely to survive and thrive over the next two decades plus. Twenty-five years from now, some of those very students will, hopefully, serve on a committee, reading through scholarship application letters to choose the scholarship recipients—with just as much care as they picked stocks as students.
It’s all part of the Gayner Family’s vision—to help students learn the benefits of playing the long game—both in investing and life.
“Susan and I dream that one day this fund spits out enough money to send every student at UVA to school for free,” says Tom. “It’s a big dream. But my life has taught me the power of dreams, and the power of compounding. With adequate support and time, our dream can, and I believe will, happen.”