Donors can support an important issue permanently by establishing a named fund. The fund will be named according to the wishes of the donor, and it will receive a fixed annual return of, for example, 5%. The purpose of the fund will be laid out in the rules that will be drafted in cooperation with the donor. An administrative committee will manage the returns of the fund.
Private individuals and organisations can establish named funds, which can be either independent funds or established as part of a discipline-specific or other joint fund. The minimum capital of an independent named fund must be €200,000, and that of a fund established as part of a discipline-specific fund, €2,000.
Between 2015 and 2018, more than 30 named funds have been newly established as part of the University of Helsinki’s endowment. In total, these funds number more than 300, and their history extends to nearly 300 years in the past. The oldest known fund established on a private donation which continues to award scholarships is based on the bequest from Lieutenant Erik Ekestubbe from 1745. Other donated funds tracing back to the era of the Royal Academy of Turku in the 18th century include the Haartman and Bilmark funds.
Funds reflect the society and the period of time that gave rise to them. The heyday for establishing named funds at the University was during the early years of Finland’s independence, until the 1930s. Relatively few funds were established between the late 1950s and the 1990s, but in the new millennium, the establishment of named funds has again become more popular. The visionary donors have had the will, drive and understanding of how a targeted fund could best promote the development of science and boost welfare in Finland. War, language disputes, the political climate and the creation of new disciplines have all spurred donors to establish funds. Some have wanted to promote language skills, or research in mathematics and physics, while others have focused on teaching in education or the study of tuberculosis.
The most important goals for founding a fund have been securing or promoting a discipline, financially supporting talented low-income students, enhancing international activities and the collection of information, promoting the cause of Finland and humanity through research, improving the situation of a particular locality or language, commemorating an important person or event in Finland or the University, honouring the life’s work of a loved one, and appreciation for the donor's own education and alma mater. Donor stories are being published online as well as in the Helsingin yliopiston rahastot ja lahjoittajat yearbook.