Friday, January 9, 2009

Nonprofits Continue to Be Hit by the Economic Downturn

There continue to be numerous news reports about nonprofits facing budget crises and reduced endowments.  Here is a sampling of the more significant ones from just this week that I have not previously blogged:

  • The Dallas Morning News detailed declines in endowments at numerous Texas universities of up to 27 percent, affecting both private institutions such as Southern Methodist University and Texas Christian University and public schools such as the University of Texas System.  The universities are generally still considering how to adjust their budgets for the next academic year to reflect these declines.
  • The Boston Globe reports that the much-publicized One Laptop Per Child Foundation of Cambridge has been forced to layoff half of its formerly 64-member staff and reduce the pay of the remaining 32 employees, primarily because of a sharp decline in donations.
  • The New York Times reports that Princeton University's endowment has shrunk by 11 percent (since the July 1, 2008 start of the fiscal year), and is expected to contract by at least 25 percent when all asset values are calculated at the end of the University's current fiscal year.  According to a letter from Princeton's President, this contraction has led to a $50 million reduction in the endowment's level of support for operating costs and so, among other steps, she plans to recommend to the Board of Trustees that salary increases for tenured faculty and the most highly paid staff be capped at $2,000.  The endowment had been the fourth largest in the country, at $15.8 billion as of March 2008.


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