Campus News

Bowdoin College Announces Endowment Returns

Story posted September 24, 2010

The Bowdoin College endowment generated an investment return of 10.3% for the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2010. Bowdoin's endowment was valued at approximately $753.5 million on June 30, 2010, increasing from a market value of $688.4 million at June 30, 2009. The change in endowment market value includes the impact of investment performance as well as new endowment gifts, minus spending in support of current programs at the College.

The June 30, 2010, valuation includes June fair market valuations for the College's non-marketable investments in private equity and private real estate partnerships. Over fiscal year 2010, the endowment provided $37.5 million towards the annual operations of the College, as determined by the College's spending formula. Endowment spending supported approximately 30% of the fiscal year 2009-10 operating budget. The College received approximately $30.8 million in endowment gifts and transfers from planned giving programs during the year.

The three-, five-, and ten-year annualized returns for Bowdoin's endowment as of June 30, 2010, were -2.4%, 6.4%, and 7.3%, respectively, versus the mean annualized returns for endowed institutions tracked by Cambridge Associates (a firm that follows the performance of foundations and endowments nationwide) of -3.9%, 3.8%, and 3.9%, placing Bowdoin in the top quartile of endowment performance over all multi-year periods. Bowdoin's 10-year annualized return of 7.3% is in the top decile when compared to its endowment peer group. The comparable 10-year annualized return for the S&P 500 index was -1.6%. The median return in fiscal 2010 for the college and university endowment universe tracked by Cambridge Associates was 12.2%.

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.

Bowdoin's endowment comprises more than 1,500 individual funds earmarked for the perpetual support of a variety of College initiatives. Approximately 45% of Bowdoin's endowment is restricted to the support of financial aid, and the endowment funded nearly 70% of the College's financial aid budget in fiscal year 2009-10.

James W. MacAllen (Bowdoin College Class of 1966) 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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