A portion of the UBC Endowment fund has been established through land lease and rental revenues earned from property development on university land at the Vancouver campus.
This funding is generated through the sales of 99-year leases used to develop housing and community facilities together with rental revenue from commercial properties. The selling of leaseholds (as opposed to the outright sale of the land) keeps the resource within UBC’s ownership, and this development activity is managed on behalf of the university by UBC Properties Trust (UBC PT).
UBC PT manages the land endowment in line with the university’s Land Use Plan, which “sets the long-term direction for land use and transportation” at UBC. Revenue generated through development activity eventually feeds into the Trek Endowment Fund – a specific stream of the UBC Endowment.
Just like the general financial endowment, revenue moving through the Trek Endowment is targeted to a specific purpose. The Endowment revenue supports areas such as academic capital, IT capital, student financial support and academic enhancement. Further, this revenue is aimed at supporting the university’s mission more broadly than the distinct individual endowments that are established through gifts — Trek is used to support the academic mission and research excellence, as well as to further initiatives advancing the university community, including capital infrastructure. Use of the Trek Endowment is mandated by the university’s Board of Governors, and these investments are planned out years in advance.
Supporting Student and Faculty Housing
A portion of the Endowment funded by land use revenues is not invested in the financial markets, but rather to support student and faculty housing. The Student Housing Financing Endowment (SHFE) was established in 2011 as a way to finance student housing projects to fulfill UBC’s commitment to offer 16,000 student bed spaces by 2024. Just like a mortgage, this money is then paid back with interest ensuring that a market-competitive return is generated for the Endowment, and providing an ongoing pool of capital to enable UBC to build more housing in the future. Recent examples of new student housing supported in this fashion are the Exchange and Brock Commons Tall Wood residences, which created over 1,000 new student beds. In 2017 a further portion of the Endowment investments from land use revenues was allocated to a newly approved Faculty Housing Financing Endowment (FHAFE), to invest in employee loans in support of the Housing Action Plan.