When all the figures are in, Penn’s endowment is expected to have declined by 15.7 percent for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009—not normally cause for celebration, but those 12 months were far from normal. The S&P 500 was down 26.2 percent for the same period, and, as The Wall Street Journal reported on August 12, fellow Ivies like Yale and Harvard are anticipating endowment losses of 25 and 30 percent, respectively.
The projection was included in the latest message from President Amy Gutmann on Penn and the economy, released August 10. Gutmann also noted that the University was entering the new fiscal year with a balanced budget and having made substantial progress toward previously announced cost-cutting goals.
Meanwhile, the University is still keeping pace with the goals for its ongoing Making History campaign, having raised $2.46 billion, or 70 percent, of the $3.5 billion total, by June 30. According to Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations John Zeller, that’s right where officials had planned to be at this point in the campaign, which runs through 2012.
At $440 million, contributions received during the fiscal year were above expectations and a solid second-place to the record-setting amount received in FY2008, which included the flurry of gifts timed to the campaign’s public launch in October 2007. The main impact of last fall and winter’s economic plunge can be seen in the scale of new commitments, which, at $398 million, fell short of the goal of $450 million for the year.
Zeller expressed gratitude for the generosity of Penn’s supporters in making this “a very good year in fundraising despite the difficult economy.” As for the future, in an email to staff Zeller noted, “Our alumni and friends have made it clear that they are ready to respond when conditions improve, and many have made short-term gifts to help us maintain momentum.” Penn is positioned to “take advantage of the anticipated upturn in the global economy in the coming months,” he added.