The Salary Endowment Fund was inaugurated with the faculty's request that the trustees accept $500,000 from the General Education Board—a philanthropic endowment founded in 1902 by John D. Rockefeller and his principal philanthropic advisor, Rev. Frederick P. Gates—on condition that an additional $1,500,000 be raised. Edna W. Brezee '05 was campaign director for the alumnae. 

The General Education Board contributed $200,000 to Vassar's general endowment campaign in 1915.  Rockefeller and Gates were former Vassar trustees.