Nonprofit news roundup April 17, 2009

Schools get over $45 million from mystery donor

At least nine universities, including two in North Carolina, have received gifts in recent weeks totaling over $45 million, and the schools had to promise not to try to identify the giver, The Associated Press reported April 17. The gifts ranged from $8 million at Purdue to $1.5 million donated to the University of North Carolina at Asheville, which checked with the IRS and the Department of Homeland Security to make sure its $1.5 million gift was not from illegal sources.

Kansas State cuts jobs in face of investment losses

The Kansas State University Foundation is cutting 13 jobs because its investments have lost nearly $100 million in nine months, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported April 16 (see endowment cuts story). The foundation, which saw its investments fall $83 million, or 25 percent, to $254 million between June 30, 2008 and the end of the year, already had imposed a hiring freeze and stopped construction of a new building.

Alabama expects endowment payout will grow

The University of Alabama system expects the payout from the pooled endowment of its three campuses will grow this year despite recent losses, The Tuscaloosa News reported April 17 (see endowment payout story). While the last three months of 2008 hurt investments, most of the last three years were good for the university’s endowment. Because a fixed formula mandates spending 5 percent of the endowment’s market value over the past three years, payouts will rise 1.6 percent in the next academic year before dropping, the university says.

Brown retrenches as endowment falls

Brown University laid off 31 employees and plans to not fill 36 vacant job in a wage and hiring freeze that are part of budget cuts in the face of endowment losses, Providence Business News reported April 15 (see college endowment story). The school’s president said in January she expected the value of the university’s endowment will have fallen by nearly 30 percent, from $2.8 billion to $2 billion, by the end of June.

Weak economy prompts cuts at Saint Louis Art Museum

The Saint Louis Art Museum is cutting $1.5 million in expenses because of the economy but moving forward with a major building expansion, the Associated Press reported April 15. The museum’s endowment has dropped nearly 30 percent in past six months and annual giving levels are down for the first quarter.

California retracts fire bill to charity

California fire officials have withdrew a bill totaling nearly $3 million to a Santa Clarita charity for the costs of fighting a 2007 wildfire that ruined 38,000 acres and 21 homes, The Associated Press reported April 15. A letter from the charity, which coaches disabled children in therapeutic horseback riding, said the fire was accidentally started near its property by an employee’s child.

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