Nonprofit news roundup for June 10, 2009

Universities grapple with dwindling endowments

Prior to the “Great Recession,” elite colleges and universities racked up investment gains that sent their endowments soaring, but now many universities are left holding assets that are difficult to quickly convert to cash, Matthew Kaminski said in an opinion column in The Wall Street Journal June 6 (see endowment column). That liquidity problem has forced schools like Harvard, Stanford and Princeton to go to the bond markets for cash, and many are rethinking their priorities and long-term plans.

Gates seeks balance between spending, asset preservation

With the economy hammering its assets, the latest challenge Jeff Raikes, head of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, faces is to find a balance between funneling money to needy people without spending the foundation’s endowment too quickly, The Seattle Times reported June 9 (see Gates Foundation story). The value of the endowment fell to $27.5 billion from $39 billion between January of 2008 and April of this year.

GSK creates $30 million scholarship program in Singapore

GlaxoSmithKline launched a $30 million endowed program to support students from Singapore who want to study green chemistry or public-health policy, Channel News Asia reported June 9 (see GlaxoSmithKline story). The company has had operations in Singapore for 50 years and recently opened a $600 million vaccine plant there.

Lost wealth likely to impact nonprofits

The recession and related stock-market declines led to a loss of $11 billion of wealth in 2008, a shift that ultimately will have an impact on all types of charities, Dow Jones reported June 9 (see wealthy donors story). Donors are taking longer to make gifts, and many portfolio managers are suggesting their clients increase holdings in liquid investments.

Southeast Michigan nonprofits fight budget gaps

As the recession and stalling auto industry continue to batter southeast Michigan many area nonprofits are turning to their members and boards for cash, The Detroit Free Press reported June 10 (see Michigan nonprofits story). Some groups, including the Detroit Economic Club and the Automotive Hall of Fame, also are cutting programs to lessen budget gaps.

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