Nonprofits including New York Law School Scramble for Cash : The Endowments of the Top-Ranked United States Universities Plummet in Financial Crisis

Stephanie Strom at the New York Times has an incisive piece titled Nonprofits Paying Price for Gamble on Finances (September 23, 2009). Go there for the full nonprofit scoop and then return here for some stats on university endowments.

We have always thought that the term “non-profit” was a misnomer because it implicitly conveys the vision of eleemosynary people and institutions working for the common good, oblivious to the greedy mammon of money and to the serendipity temptations of the omnipresent evil that accompanies financial motivation.

But, of course, the proverbial truth is far removed from the widely held Utopian vision that nonprofits lead a charitable life. Quite the contrary, many nonprofits over the years have amassed such vast quantities of cash – via United States Internal Revenue Code (26 U.S.C. § 501(c)) tax-exempt income – that they wield substantial economic power and are strong players in the monetary state of the nation and the world.

A good example of the profits of the non-profits are the top U.S. universities, where the academic rank of a university tends to bear a very distinct direct correlation to the size of its “endowment” – that’s “smart speak” for the total value of an institution’s investments. The more money you have, the more you can do as an institution. Money talks.

The chart below gives the endowments of the top U.S. universities as of the year 2008, but those endowments have plummeted in the last 12 months due to the financial credit crisis. The values of Harvard, Yale and Stanford endowments are all down by about 25% from those given below.

Harvard led the 2008 endowment pack with a ca. $36+ billion in 2008, followed by Yale at $22+ billion, Stanford at $17+ billion, Princeton at $16+ billion, and the University of Texas system at $16+ billion, to round out the top 5.

MIT then followed at a fairly distant 6th at $10+ billion, followed by the University of Michigan at $7+ billion, Northwestern at $7+ billion, Columbia University at $7+ billion, the Texas A&M University System at $6+ billion, the University of Chicago at $6+ billion, the University of Pennsylvania at $6+ billion, Notre Dame at $6+ billion, the University of California system at $6+ billion, and Duke at $6+ billion, to round out the top 15, with Emory, Cornell, Washington University in St. Louis, Rice and the University of Virginia rounded out the top 20.

The following Wikipedia figures are based on original figures from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).[1][2][3][4]

Institution ↓ Endowment (2008)
billion USD ↓
Harvard University $ 36.556[4]
Yale University $ 22.870[4]
Stanford University $ 17.200[4]
Princeton University $ 16.349[4]
University of Texas System (system-wide)[5] $ 16.111[4]
Massachusetts Institute of Technology $ 10.069[4]
University of Michigan $ 7.572[4]
Northwestern University $ 7.244[4]
Columbia University $ 7.147[4]
Texas A&M University System (system-wide)[5] $ 6.659[4]
University of Chicago $ 6.632[4]
University of Pennsylvania $ 6.233[4]
University of Notre Dame $ 6.226[4]
University of California (system-wide)[5] $ 6.217[4]
Duke University $ 6.124[4]
Emory University $ 5.473[4]
Cornell University $ 5.385[4]
Washington University in St. Louis $ 5.350[4]
Rice University $ 4.610[4]
University of Virginia $ 4.573[4]
Dartmouth College $ 3.660[4]
University of Southern California $ 3.589[4]
Vanderbilt University $ 3.524[4]
University of Minnesota $ 2.751[4]
Brown University $ 2.747[4]
Johns Hopkins University $ 2.525[4]
New York University $ 2.475[4]
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill $ 2.359[4]
University of Pittsburgh $ 2.334[4]
University of Washington $ 2.262[4]
Ohio State University $ 2.076[4]
Rockefeller University $ 2.021[4]
California Institute of Technology $ 1.892[4]
Williams College $ 1.808[4]
Pomona College $ 1.794[4]
Case Western Reserve University $ 1.766[4]
Purdue University (system-wide)[5] $ 1.736[4]
University of Wisconsin-Madison
(UW Foundation only)
$ 1.735[4]
University of Rochester $ 1.731[4]
Amherst College $ 1.705[4]
University of Richmond $ 1.704[4]
Boston College $ 1.631[4]
Wellesley College $ 1.611[4]
Indiana University (system-wide)[5] $ 1.546[4]
Pennsylvania State University $ 1.545[4]
Grinnell College $ 1.472[4]
University of Illinois (system-wide)[5] $ 1.460[4]
Tufts University $ 1.446[4]
Swarthmore College $ 1.413[4]
Southern Methodist University(SMU) $ 1.368[4]
Smith College $ 1.366[4]
Yeshiva University $ 1.345[4]
Georgia Institute of Technology
(Georgia Tech Foundation only)
$ 1.344[4]
University of Delaware $ 1.340[4]
Michigan State University $ 1.282[4]
Texas Christian University $ 1.260[4]
George Washington University $ 1.256[4]
Wake Forest University $ 1.254[4]
University of Florida (UF Foundation only) $ 1.251[4]
University of Nebraska (system-wide)[5] $ 1.221[4]
University of Kansas (system-wide)[5] $ 1.218[4]
University of Oklahoma $ 1.155[4]
Boston University $ 1.145[4]
Lehigh University $ 1.127[4]
University of Cincinnati $ 1.099[4]
Baylor College of Medicine $ 1.091[4]
Carnegie Mellon University $ 1.068[4]
Baylor University $ 1.060[4]
Georgetown University $ 1.059[4]
University of California, Los Angeles
(UCLA Foundation only)
$ 1.054[4]
Tulane University $ 1.036[4]
Trinity University (Texas) $ 1.035[4]
University of Missouri (system-wide)[5] $ 1.025[4]
Berea College $ 1.023[4]
Princeton Theological Seminary $ 1.018[4]
Syracuse University $ 0.985[4]

Statement by President Barack Obama on the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh

Statement by President Barack Obama on the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh:

Michelle and I look forward to welcoming world leaders to the wonderful city of Pittsburgh on September 24th and 25th and we thank the people of Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania for opening their city as a showcase to the world.

The Pittsburgh Summit is an important opportunity to continue the hard work that we have done in confronting the global economic crisis, and renewing prosperity for our people. Together, we will review the progress we have made, assess what more needs to be done, and discuss what we can do together to lay the groundwork for balanced and sustainable economic growth. Pittsburgh stands as a bold example of how to create new jobs and industries while transitioning to a 21st century economy. As a city that has transformed itself from the city of steel to a center for high-tech innovation—including green technology, education and training, and research and development—Pittsburgh will provide both a beautiful backdrop and a powerful example for our work. [emphasis added by LawPundit]

It’s important to note how far we have come in preventing a global economic catastrophe. A year ago, our economy was in a freefall. Some economists were predicting a second Great Depression. Immediate action was required to rescue the economy. In the United States, we passed an historic Recovery Act that quickly put money in the hands of working families, and is putting Americans to work all across the country—including in Pittsburgh and the surrounding area. That includes companies like East Penn Manufacturing, a third-generation family business which is now building batteries for the hybrid, energy efficient vehicles of the 21st century. That includes Serious Materials manufacturing plant outside of Pittsburgh that was shuttered last year, which is now rehiring the workers who lost their jobs and giving them a new mission: producing some of the most energy-efficient windows in the world. And at medical laboratories in Pittsburgh, scientists are making advances in tissue regeneration, which will help people across the globe, including our troops wounded in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The steps that we have taken to jumpstart growth have also been coordinated with our partners around the world. Industrial production throughout the G20 has either stabilized or is growing. Global trade is expanding. Stresses in financial markets have significantly abated and our financial institutions are raising needed capital.

But all of us must remember that our work is far from complete—not when our people are still looking for work. As the leaders of the world’s largest economies, we have a responsibility to work together on behalf of sustained growth, while putting in place the rules of the road that can prevent this kind of crisis from happening again. To avoid being trapped in the cycle of bubble and bust, we must set a path for sustainable growth while steering clear of the imbalances of the past. That will be a key part of the G20 agenda going forward and the Pittsburgh Summit can be an important milestone in our efforts.

In a place known as the city of bridges, we can come together to advance our common interest in a global recovery, while turning the page to a truly 21st century economy.

By working with our friends and partners from around the world, the U.S. is ready to help lead this effort in Pittsburgh and beyond.

Pittsburgh G-20 Summit Takes Place Today and Tomorrow (September 24 & 25, 2009)

The Pittsburgh G-20 Summit of the world’s leading economies takes place today and tomorrow (September 24 & 25, 2009) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (the G-20 – chaired in 2009 by the UK – consists of 19 nations and the European Union – i.e. Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States of America, and the EU).

The Pittsburgh G-20 Partnership (see the photos at that page):

“will welcome world leaders visiting for the Pittsburgh Summit with a diverse array of locally crafted gifts — many of them hand-made. Unveiled today at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside, the gifts represent the vitality of the Pittsburgh cultural landscape and convey the key role it plays in our region’s high quality of life.” [emphasis added]

Some eyebrows have been raised about the fact of the Obama administration choosing Pittsburgh as the venue for the summit, but it is definitely one of the most interesting cities in the United States which has made great strides in last decades, marked keenly by the Pittsburgh Steelers as reigning Super Bowl champions.

Gary Shapiro headlines at the Huffington Post that Pittsburgh Model Dramatizes Lessons for G-20 Summit and writes inter alia:

A recent article in The Economist tracks Pittsburgh’s rise from depressed steel town to innovation center. Jobs in the growing fields of bio-science, electronics and nuclear engineering have replaced manufacturing jobs so effectively that Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate is nearly two percentage points lower than the national average.

Pittsburgh’s experience offers a road map for American cities adjusting to manufacturing downturns and the new realities of the modern global economy. Pittsburgh experienced its manufacturing collapse sooner and more suddenly than the rest of the country, and has had more time to adapt to the new economic reality and thrive.” more…

As written at the Wikipedia about Pittsburgh:

In 2007, Pittsburgh was named “America’s Most Livable City” by Places Rated Almanac.[13] Furthermore, in 2009, Pittsburgh was named most livable city in the United States and 29th-most-livable city worldwide by The Economist.[14]

The characteristic shape of downtown is a triangular tract carved by the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, where the Ohio River forms. The city features 151 high-rise buildings,[8] 446 bridges,[9] two inclined railways, and a pre-revolutionary fortification. Pittsburgh is known colloquially as “The City of Bridges” and “The Steel City” for its many bridges and former steel manufacturing base.

During my student days as an undergraduate at the University of Nebraska and before I went on to Stanford Law School, I spent my 1966 summer working in Pittsburgh and residing in the Pittsburgh suburb of Shadyside, so it is nice to see what was actually a “sunny” Pittsburgh neighborhood in “Shadyside” rise to the top of the world scene.