Campus News

Endowment Returns Announced

Story posted September 17, 2009

September 11, 2009

The Bowdoin College endowment generated an investment return of -16.99% for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2009. The median return in fiscal 2009 for the college and university endowment universe tracked by Cambridge Associates, a firm that tracks performance of foundations and endowments nationwide, was -19.99%. The widely tracked S&P 500 ended the fiscal year with a decline of -26.22% and international markets, as represented by the MSCI EAFE market index, declined -31.35%.

Bowdoin's endowment portfolio is diversified across different asset classes including domestic and international equities, fixed income, private equity, real estate, and absolute return strategies. All asset classes are invested through a selection of external investment managers or through market indices. The portfolio is structured with a long-term time horizon, with portfolio diversification and manager selection directed toward protecting endowment capital in challenging investment environments, while growing those assets during periods of economic stability and growth. The three-, five-, and ten-year annualized returns for Bowdoin's endowment as of June 30, 2009, were 1.5%, 7.0%, and 7.2%, respectively, versus the mean annualized returns for endowed institutions tracked by Cambridge Associates of -1.88%, 3.64%, and 4.39%, placing Bowdoin in the top quartile of endowment performance over all periods.

On June 30, 2009, Bowdoin's endowment was valued at approximately $688.5 million, declining from a market value of $831.5 million at June 30, 2008. The updated market value includes June 30, 2009, valuations for the College's investments in private equity and private real estate partnerships. The College's change in market value includes the impact of investment performance as well as new endowment gifts, minus spending in support of current programs at the College.

Over fiscal year 2009, the endowment provided $32.46 million towards the annual operations of the College, or 28% of the 2008-09 operating budget. Approximately 44% of the endowment is restricted to the support of financial aid. The College received approximately $37 million in endowment gifts and transfers from planned giving programs during the year. On June 30, 2009, the College also completed its $250 million capital campaign by raising $293 million.

Bowdoin's endowment is comprised of over 1,500 individual funds earmarked for the perpetual support of a variety of College initiatives. Sheldon M. Stone chaired Bowdoin's Investment Committee over the past year. Paula Volent, CFA, is senior vice president for investments at the College.

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