April 28, 2010
Restrictions on Endowments Removed for Metropolitan Opera
The Wall Street Journal reports that The Metropolitan Opera “took the unusual step of unleashing $22 million from its restricted endowment in early 2009 by asking donors to lift regulations on how their contributions could be spent.” Approximately one third of this sum was reportedly used for current operations. The perceived need to free endowment assets was hardly mysterious, for the Met’s $282 million of expenses towered over its $133 million in revenue. Its financial position improving with the general economic recovery, the Met has given no indication that it will seek the release of other donor restrictions
Note: New York’s version of the relevant provision of the Uniform Management of Institutional Funds Act provides as follows:
With the consent of the donor in a writing acknowledged by him, the governing board may release, in whole or in part, a restriction imposed by the applicable gift instrument on the use or investment of an institutional fund.
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