The Annual Fund

When you give to the Annual Fund, you and fellow donors are providing as much as 8% of the university's operating budget.

Directed Giving

To better reflect the importance of choice in financial support from alumni, parents, and friends, Washington and Lee's annual giving program has been expanded to allow directed giving to key areas of the university. Operating on a fiscal year encompassing the academic year -- from July 1 to June 30 -- our annual giving program provides direct support to students, faculty, departments, and opportunities. In the past, you were able to support W&L through unrestricted giving. While undoubtedly still important, we want to expand your ability to give to the areas of the university that had the greatest impact on you. In recognition of the people and programs that make this place distinctive, you may now direct your giving to the following areas:

By giving to W&L unrestricted, you enable the university to seize educational opportunities and address unforeseen needs as they arise. Unrestricted dollars go to work immediately to benefit all parts of campus life. 


Last year, in the face of a global pandemic, unrestricted gifts allowed W&L to quickly pivot to support students, faculty and staff, and W&L families. This included the cost of assisting W&L’s most vulnerable students in returning home or providing safe housing locally, ensuring employment for W&L faculty and staff, transitioning to and supporting high-quality virtual instruction, and treating families fairly by refunding a share of last year’s room and board fees. 

This year, unrestricted gifts to the Annual Fund are offsetting the demand for increased PPE and sanitation efforts across campus in order to allow for in-person instruction. 

  • Classrooms, study spaces, and common areas have been retrofitted or created anew to allow for safe distancing and proper ventilation. 

  • Campus dining options have adapted to provide more options for carry-out meals, as well as a delivery program for students quarantining. Eateries have undergone physical and procedural transformations to allow for safe handling and serving for dining services workers and student diners. 

  • COVID testing is required of every student, faculty, and staff member prior to the start of each academic term. Ongoing testing and contract tracing continue to provide safety for the campus and surrounding community. 

  • Student health and wellness efforts range from the creation of campus quarantine spaces and expanded hours for the Student Wellness Center to augmented programming for outdoor recreation and entertainment. 

Annual Fund dollars support ALL students by allowing the university to operate at peak potential without drawing down our endowment more than would be prudent or raising tuition substantially. The percentage of dollars provided by annual giving offsets the cost of tuition for each student by $5,000 a year. Additionally, annual gifts by alumni, parents, and friends contribute to the generous need-based aid packages that make a W&L education accessible.


  • Annual Fund dollars are critical to providing for the full W&L experience for each and every student. Extra- and co-curricular opportunities to research, travel, and intern are fundamental to the depth and breadth of a W&L education. Funding for participation in such immersive experiences is covered by need-based financial aid and available through additional campus grants and scholarships made possible by your contributions. 

  • W&L meets 100 percent of demonstrated need entirely through scholarship, grants, and student employment – without loans. 

  • The W&L Promise is our pledge to families: We guarantee a minimum grant of tuition to any undergraduate student admitted to W&L with a total family income below $100,000 and assets typical for their income. Furthermore, students may be eligible for additional grants to cover room, board, and other educational expenses.

W&L is committed to providing an education that is vital and relevant to the 21st century by emphasizing analytical thinking, personal integrity, and persuasive and evidential communication. 36 undergraduate majors and 37 minors provide flexibility to pursue interests in a wide array of subjects, while a common core of general education requirements ensures that each student graduates with the skillset to make an immediate impact in graduate programs and early careers. 

What's Supported?

  • Faculty Support
  • Faculty Recruitment
  • Evolving Curriculum
  • Experiential and Community-Based Learning
  • Student Support
  • Virtual Learning During COVID-19 Pandemic

The arts at W&L extend beyond the classroom, enhancing the vibrancy of campus life through performances and exhibitsshowcases and master-classes, community outreach and traveling acts. Directing your gift to the arts supports performances at the Lenfest Center for the Performing Arts, the university collections of art and history, museums, galleries, historical sites and markers. 

Gifts directed to support athletics go to the operating costs associated with our 24 varsity sports, club and intramural teamsand our first-rate facilities, including the newly renovated Duchossois Athletic and Recreation Center – home to new competition spaces for volleyball, wrestling, and men’s and women’s basketball, in addition to a fitness center, training and recovery center, dance studio, Spin studio, indoor golf practice facility, squash and racquetball courts, and two additional open-recreation gymnasiums. 

Washington and Lee affirms that diversity enhances our community. Further, we are not a community until all members feel equally included. We are committed to the recruitment, enrichment, and retention of students, faculty, and staff who embody many experiences, cultures, points of view, interests, and identities. As engaged citizens in a global and diverse society, we seek to advance a positive learning and working environment for all. When you direct your gift to diversity and inclusion, you support programming, facilities, courses and resources that promote these promises.  


  • Gifts directed to diversity and inclusion support the Office of Inclusion and Engagement (OIE), which strives to foster a culture in which all members of the community feel fully welcome and able to participate in everything the university has to offer. OIE develops programs that explore, promote and celebrate the increasingly diverse backgrounds of our students, faculty, and staff.  

  • W&L’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Resource Center, in the renovated Red House on front campus, is dedicated to affirming the existence and development of LGBTQ individuals at W&L, and to supporting a strong and welcoming community among LGBTQ members and allies within the larger institution. 

  • The First-Generation Low-Income Partnership (FLIP) is led and comprised of W&L students, and partners with first-generation faculty, staff, and administrators create a supportive community for First Generation and/or Low-Income (FGLI) students. They advocate for FGLI issues as well as organize resources, events and student discussions and meetups. 

  • W&L’s Diversity and Inclusion Visit Experience (DIVE) provides tailored and personalized introduction to the liberal arts and residential campus life at W&L with an emphasis on the diverse voices and experiences of our students. 

Opportunities to lead, travel, work, and play -- on campus, in Lexington, and around the world -- are experiences that help define and differentiate Washington and Lee educationGifts directed to student opportunities help ensure that every student may participate in the full W&L experience by providing funding for the programs and activities AND financial assistance for experiences not covered by tuition and activity fees. Annual Fund dollars ensure that every student, regardless of family means, has the opportunity to pursue their education to the full extent of their talents and interests. 

Although we are not physically in the office we are still answering the Annual Fund line at 540-458-8420.

You can also make a gift from your IRA: Learn More


Contact Us

Annual Giving
Office of University Development
Washington and Lee University
Development Building
Lexington, VA 24450

Thanks & Recognition

As a donor, your support has a great impact on the W&L community.

The President's Society

W&L's recognition club honoring our most outstanding donors to the Annual Fund. Leadership gifts, those of $2,500 or more, typically account for close to 80% of the Annual Fund. Membership is available to any donor who gives $2,500 or more per year to the Annual Fund, or at tiered giving levels for younger alumni.

The 1749 Circle

The 1749 Circle is a special philanthropic society recognizing and honoring the loyal alumni, parents and friends who support the university consistently over time. This society is not about how much you give; it's about the simple act of giving year after year. Membership in the 1749 Circle begins after three consecutive years of giving to W&L.

The Honor Roll

The Honor Roll celebrates the many people who made gifts to W&L during the prior year as well as the volunteers who helped support the university, both on and off campus.

Class Agents Make the Annual Fund Work

Alumni Volunteers
Class agents inspire and connect with thousands of their classmates, sorority sisters, pledge brothers, teammates, and friends to make a lasting impact on the University through gifts to the Annual Fund.

Today's Students, Tomorrow's Leaders

Student Philanthropy
The Senior Gift Campaign is an education-based program that reinforces the sense of community among the Senior class and aims to increase participation in Annual Fund giving.

Annual Giving Team

From yearly support to reunion and parent gifts, the Annual Giving team works to raise funds and recognize our generous donors.

Fiscal Year 2019-2020 Recap

The 2019-20 fiscal year ended in a way none of us expected with a global pandemic, turbulent financial markets, an empty campus, virtual classes taking the place of in-person seminars and lectures, and social and racial unrest in our country. The events required this community to apply its learned critical, ethical, and humane reasoning skills to ask and answer fundamental questions about our institutional values. Through it all, alumni, parents, and friends have remained passionate supporters of and advocates for W&L's distinctive education.

W&L concluded the 2019-20 Annual Fund with the fourth-highest total ever. The total number of new gifts and pledges to the university was the second-highest since the last campaign ended in 2015. Thank you for your generous support.