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National Academy of Sciences Endowment Fund

Name: NAS Endowment

Assets Under Management: $412.5 Million (Source: National Academy of Sciences on 12/31/2013)

Annual Report: The Treasurer of the National Academy of Sciences For the Year Ended December 31, 2013

Portfolio Insights: “The income that supports the activities of the Academy comes from two major sources: program revenue received from sponsors to pay for the myriad studies and other activities undertaken each year by the National Research Council (NRC), and a much smaller sum that we withdraw from our own endowment under the endowment spending policies adopted by the Council. Our total program revenue for 2013 experienced a decline of approximately 4% below 2012 revenue, which brings the two-year decline to approximately 11%. In projecting program level in 2014, we feel that this decline will be halted and that the program will remain steady at the 2013 level, and possibly a little higher.

During 2013, the endowment, along with the broader market, experienced a welcome increase in its asset value. The market value of the portfolio increased net of withdrawals and new contributions from $376.0 million on January 1, 2013, to $412.5 million at December 31, 2013. The portfolio returned 12.6% for the year, which was 3.1% lower than the benchmark return of 15.7%. While absolute performance results were satisfactory, performance relative to the benchmark was dampened primarily by the limited contribution from the venture capital, private equity, and multi-strategy hedge funds.” (Source)

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Top National Academy of Sciences Endowment Fund Headlines:

1) Bill Richardson, a health policy scholar and member of the National Academy of Science’s Institute of Medicine, restored financial health to deficit-plagued divisions and inspired renewed confidence in the university and optimism over its future. He saved the Peabody Institute with a dramatic fund-raising effort in his first three months. Characterizing the School of Arts and Sciences as the heart of the university, he solicited a challenge gift of $50 million for the school’s endowment,the largest donation in the university’s history. Richardson quietly led a national coalition of university presidents that helped reform reimbursement of research overhead costs, heading off a major challenge to federal support of science. Richardson recruited a team of deans and administrators that laid that basis for future success, and he launched a campaign that raised a record $1.52 billion. (Source)

2) The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a private, non-profit society of distinguished scholars. Established by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology. Scientists are elected by their peers to membership in the NAS for outstanding contributions to research. The NAS is committed to furthering science in America, and its members are active contributors to the international scientific community. Nearly 500 members of the NAS have won Nobel Prizes, and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, founded in 1914, is today one of the premier international journals publishing the results of original research.

The National Research Council, created under the NAS charter in 1916 by executive order of President Woodrow Wilson, extended the scope of the NAS in its advisory role. The National Academy of Engineering (NAE) and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) were founded under the NAS charter in 1964 and 1970, respectively. (Source)

3) Gifts to the NAS Annual Fund are among the most valuable because they provide the necessary resources to initiate timely, important activities and to expand dissemination of the Academy’s work to a broader audience for greater impact.

Your unrestricted gift to the Annual Fund enables the Academy to sponsor symposia, roundtables, lectures, and forums on critical, national issues as well as to create innovative mechanisms—both in print and on the web—to share our work with the general public.

Most importantly, your unrestricted support enables the NAS to address the right question at the right time and effectively communicate the results to the right people. (Source)

4) The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) performed an independent evaluation of EPA’s scientific and technical practices related to the Coeur d’Alene Basin Superfund site in northern Idaho. Areas of the cleanup examined include: site characterization, human and ecological assessment, remedial planning and decision-making. EPA appreciates the Academy’s scientific scrutiny and wishes to thank the distinguished panel members who contributed to the report.

EPA anticipates the report’s recommendations will aid our long-standing commitment to use the best available science to protect the environment, human health and the communities of the Coeur d’Alene Basin. EPA will consider the NAS report’s recommendations and where appropriate translate those findings into action. (Source)

5) The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is embarking on a comprehensive study of genetically engineered (GE) crops. It will examine the historic development of agricultural biotechnology, assess the “purported” benefits and negatives of GE crops, review food and environmental safety issues, and explore where the technology may be headed. (Source)

About Richard C. Wilson