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Capital gifts are gifts that that increase the value of the campus or institution

Endowments, whose funds are restricted to investments, are examples of capital funds. Only interest earned on those investments is available for disbursement. Many scholarships, student loans and grants, and faculty loans and grants are provided for by interest earned by capital funds.  Faculty chairs—also known as "Endowed Chairs" are also provided for by the interest earned by these funds.

General endowment funds usually incorporate most of the interest they earn into the main fund so that they grow. Even though small gifts might not seem to be significant, all together, they are because together, they earn a higher interest than they would independently in most savings accounts and because they remain with the College over a long period of time—longer than most of our lifetimes. Wills and bequests are typically invested in endowments of one sort or another.

Building campaigns are often "Capital Campaigns" because the large amounts of money raised for these projects are invested as the College receives them while planning and construction are taking place. Often, much is left in an invested building capital campaign in order to provide for depreciation.