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Grinnell College Endowment Fund

Name: Grinnell College

Assets Under Management:  $1.86 Billion (Source: Grinnell College on 6/30/2013)

Annual Report:  Grinnell College Financial Report, June 30, 2013

Portfolio Insights: “Trustees of Grinnell College (the College) is a liberal arts institution in Grinnell, Iowa. The
College is accredited as a baccalaureate institution by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The accompanying financial statements have been prepared on the accrual basis of accounting in conformity with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America (GAAP). The College maintains its internal accounts in accordance with the principles of fund accounting. Resources for various purposes are classified into funds that are in accordance with activities or objectives specified by donors. Separate accounts are maintained for each fund.” (Source)

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Top Grinnell College Endowment Fund Headlines:

1) Grinnell College, which this year reported the fifth-largest endowment of any liberal arts college, announced Thursday that it would spend the next few months engaged in a conversation with campus stakeholders about changing its financial aid policies – including potentially, but probably not, going as far as making changes to need-blind admission. That makes it the second high-profile liberal arts college, following Wesleyan University this summer, to broach the topic in recent months.

Grinnell’s announcement stands out for two major reasons. Grinnell is one of the wealthiest liberal arts colleges in the country, so the idea that it would view its current financial aid model as unsustainable could be a bellwether that the sector as a whole is reconsidering the model. Second, the college’s administrators are taking an unusually public approach to a discussion that arouses strong emotions, trying to educate all campus constituents on why they think change might be necessary and hoping that, in doing so, they can mollify potential critics. (Source)

2) Grinnell College, whose $1.4 billion endowment benefitted from the guidance of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, is evaluating financial aid, acknowledging rising costs and investment declines make current policies unsustainable. Grinnell, the fifth-richest liberal arts school in the U.S., may increase the amount it requires some students on financial-aid to take out in loans. The Grinnell, Iowa-based school currently admits students regardless of their ability to pay. While it’s “highly unlikely” the college will scrap its so-called need-blind policy, that option is also on the table, President Raynard S. Kington said. (Source)

3) One factor in the reaction to the size of Grinnell’s planned increase is the school’s wealth. Grinnell College’s endowment fund is about $1.2 billion – nearly four times as large as the University of Iowa’s $295 million endowment, the next-largest endowment fund at an Iowa school. (Source)

4) Grinnell College, which relies on earnings from its $1.25 billion endowment to fund half the college’s annual operating budget, has 20 percent of its portfolio in alternative investments. However, it doesn’t include hedge funds in its mix of alternatives, said David Clay, Grinnell’s treasurer. “We’re a little bit unique in that we haven’t made that kind of leap,” said Clay, who said the alternative strategies Grinnell uses are “really just private variations of our strategy on the public-market side,” such as providing venture funding to small companies. The bulk of the college’s portfolio, 70 percent, is made up of equities, with 10 percent in cash or fixed-income investments. (Source)

5) Raynard Kington, the president of Grinnell College in Grinnell, Iowa — University President Mary Sue Coleman’s alma mater — will address the graduating class of his alma mater at the University’s winter commencement ceremony on Sunday, Dec. 16.

Kington will receive an honorary Doctor of Laws in addition to serving as keynote speaker at the Crisler Center event. Before becoming the 13th president at Grinnell College, Kington was the Deputy Director of the National Institutes of Health.

A Baltimore native, Kington received a joint undergraduate and medical degree from the University through the now-defunct Inteflex program, which admitted high school students to attend the University for their undergraduate and medical degrees. He also received his MBA and Ph.D. from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. (Source)


About Richard C. Wilson