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Amherst College Endowment Fund

Name: Amherst College

Assets Under Management:  $3.058 Billion (Source: Amherst College on 6/30/14)

Annual Report:  The Trustees of Amherst College

Portfolio Insights: “The Institution has established a diversified investment portfolio in accordance with the investment strategy determined by the Investment Committee of the Board of Trustees. Investments are recorded at fair value. The values of publicly traded fixed income and equity securities are based upon quoted market prices at the close of business on the last day of the fiscal year. Investments in units of non-publicly traded pooled funds are valued at the unit value determined by the fund’s administrator based on quoted market values of the underlying securities. Private equities and certain other nonmarketable securities, including alternative investments, are valued using current estimates of fair value based upon the net asset value of the funds determined by the general partner or investment manager for the respective funds. Because alternative investments are not readily marketable, the estimated fair value is subject to uncertainty and may differ from the value that would have been used had a ready market for the investments existed. Such differences could be material. The Institution’s alternative investments include venture capital funds, private equity funds and investments in real estate and natural resources. These alternative investments represented approximately 34% of the Institution’s investments at June 30, 2014.” (Source)

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Top Amherst College Endowment Fund Headlines:

1) Amherst College Endowment is an endowment fund arm of Amherst College. It invests in the public equity, fixed income, and alternative investment markets. The firm’s alternative investments include venture capital funds, private equity funds, and investments in real estate and natural resources. Amherst College Endowment is based in Amherst, Massachusetts. (Source)

2) Amherst College is one of the oldest, most selective, and most prestigious liberal-arts colleges in the country. It has also made a huge commitment to recruiting talented students from all backgrounds, regardless of their ability to pay tuition. Today, nonwhite students outnumber white students on Amherst’s central Massachusetts campus, and 23 percent of students qualify for federal Pell Grants.

President Obama wants more selective colleges to act like Amherst. “We want to restore the essential promise of opportunity and upward mobility that’s at the heart of America,” he told college presidents, nonprofit leaders and philanthropists at the White House last week. A college degree is the surest path to a middle-class life, he said.

Yet elite colleges face powerful incentives to enroll disproportionate numbers of wealthy students. Low-income students cost institutions money, rather than bringing in revenue; they don’t tend to boost a college’s ranking; and they can lack the resumes some admission offices look for. (Source)

3) Amherst College has surpassed its fund-raising goal in a five-year campaign by nearly $80 million. The fund-raising drive realized about $502 million. It began in October 2008 as the stock market plunged at the beginning of the worst recession in decades, causing the liberal arts college’s endowment to lose about one-fourth of its value. The priorities of the drive included maintaining the college’s financial aid policies and fostering faculty-student research.

‘‘The campaign was not only launched during a challenging time, but it succeeded during the worst downturn since the Great Depression,’’ said president Biddy Martin.

Anonymous donations of more than $138 million included separate gifts of $100 million and $25 million, Martin said. A high proportion of unrestricted gifts, about 47 percent of what was raised in total, also was noteworthy, she said. Higher education philanthropy tends to emphasize restricted gifts, with donor involvement in directing how the gifts are to be used, such as naming buildings and programs for donors, Martin said. (Source)

4) The Mead Art Museum at Amherst College recently announced that it was awarded a $1 million endowment challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The grant will support the school’s’ coordinator of college programs position if the university can raise matching funds over the next three years.

This is the second grant the Mead Art Museum has received from the Mellon Foundation to support the integration of arts and curriculum. In December 2008, it received $500,000 to create the coordinator of college programs position. Now, the grants will create an endowment for the coordinator job to ensure the college is able to provide students with museum-based learning opportunities.

“In the three brief but busy years since the museum received its first grant from the Mellon Foundation, the initiatives that it funded have transformed teaching and research at Amherst,” said Elizabeth Barker, the Mead’s director and chief curator. “Classes from virtually every academic discipline now regularly use the Mead’s collections.” (Source)

5) The school raised about $502 million, topping its initial goal of$425 million. The fundraising drive began in October 2008 as the stock market plunged at the beginning of the worst recession in decades and causing the liberal arts college’s endowment to lose about one-fourth of its value. The priorities of the fundraising drive included maintaining the college’s financial aid policies and fostering faculty-student research. President Biddy Martin says anonymous donations of more than $138 million included separate gifts of $100 million and $25 million. And she says a high proportion of gifts, about 47 percent of what was raised in total, are unrestricted. (Source)

 

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