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University of Manitoba Endowment Fund

Name: The University of Manitoba’s University Investment Trust (UIT)

Assets Under Management: $795.7 Million (Source: University of Manitoba on 6/30/2013)

Annual Report: University of Manitoba’s Annual Financial Report 2012

Portfolio Insights: “In 2011-12 total university revenue in all Funds (unrestricted and restricted) was $794 million, an increase of 1% from 2010-11 revenue of $786 million. The provincial government, through copse, Manitoba Health, Manitoba Student Aid, Manitoba Agriculture, Food & Rural Initiatives and various provincial councils and funds in support of teaching, innovation, capital and research is the largest single supporter of the university, representing 48% or $380 million of total revenue, up from $367 million last year. The grant from copse increased $16.4 million. Other revenues from the province included $13.0 million for Project Domino.

Students, through their tuition and related fees, provided the second largest source of the university’s revenue during the year. In 2011-12, $123.2 million was assessed, up from $117.5 million in the prior year. These fees represent about 16% of total revenues. The increase in the year is due to an enrollment increase in regular session ($2.2 million), international student enrollment increase ($2.5 million), and fee increases ($1 million).” (Source)

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Top University of Manitoba Endowment Fund Headlines:

1) The University of Manitoba’s University Investment Trust (UIT) is managed by the Trust Investment Committee (“the Committee”), which has general authority over the investment of the assets of the UIT.Members of the Committee are appointed under the authority of the Board of Governors, and are accountable to the Board through the Finance and Administration Committee. The Committee is responsible for formulating investment policies and manager mandates; determining the asset mix and assessing investment risk; hiring and reviewing investment managers; and arranging for independent evaluation of fund performance. (Source)

2) The University of Manitoba is fortunate to be supported by a philanthropic community that puts education front and centre. A strong endowment fund has a lasting impact on the academic quality of a university and provides reliable financial support for students and researchers far into the future. Last year, the University of Manitoba’s endowment fund, the University Investment Trust (UIT), grew to more than half-a-billion dollars thanks to the incredible support of our donors and skillful investment strategies. With a market value of $511 million, up from $424 million last year, the UIT is the seventh largest endowment fund among Canadian universities. An outstanding return of 19.8 per cent, outperforming our benchmark of 17.7 per cent, plus $8.5 million in new gifts to endowment funds, generated this remarkable growth in the UIT in 2013-14. With an additional $5.8 million in gifts to Specific Trust funds, the vision and generosity of our donors is helping the University of Manitoba’s people, places and programs flourish by securing its future with a strong endowment fund. (Source)

3) The University of Manitoba received its first donation in 1885 through a bequest from Alexander Kennedy Isbister (pictured at right). Our first benefactor has inspired countless others to follow in his footsteps and give to the University of Manitoba. His example is entwined with our commitment to being a world-class university, open to all who wish to learn. A Métis of Cree and Scottish descent, Alexander Kennedy Isbister was born in the heart of the Red River District in 1822. A firm believer in the value of higher education, Isbister left Manitoba in 1842 to study education and law at Aberdeen and Edinburgh universities in Scotland. There were no opportunities for a university education in the Red River District at that time. A dedicated and passionate student, Isbister won several prizes and earned a master’s degree. He went on to become a scholar, educator, lawyer and author. Isbister never returned to Canada, but he didn’t forget the country of his birth. When he died in 1883, he left $83,000 and over 4,000 books to the University of Manitoba. This remarkable act of generosity came with one stipulation – that the money be used for scholarships and prizes for all who merited them, regardless of sex, race, creed, language or nationality. While this is a common value today, Isbister was extremely forward thinking for his time. (Source)

4) The University of Manitoba endowment fund is steadily recovering from the effects of economic recession. Due to the collapse of investment markets, in 2008 the University Investment Trust (UIT) fund lost approximately 20 per cent of its value. However, in 2009 the fund recovered by 12.8 per cent. As of Dec. 31 2009, it stood at $345 million. “We’re not back to where we were prior the collapse of the markets but we are recovering,” said Debbie McCallum, vice-president (administration) at the University of Manitoba.

Karen Woloschuk, director of Advancement Services, explained that universities across North America saw a decrease in gifts of publicly held securities in late 2008 and 2009, a direct result of the economic recession.

“In the fall of 2009, gifts of securities increased again which was a sign that the markets and economy were recovering,” said Woloschuck. This meant a four per cent cut to the spending allocations from the UIT that are made available to faculties and schools, which are usually 4.5 per cent of the average market value of the UIT over the past three years. McCallum explained that, as the investment markets recover, the spending allocation that is made available will also recover. (Source)

5) The Psychical Research Archives Endowment Fund (PRAEF) was established at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada, in November 2012.  The fund is intended to support the acquisition, preservation and use of archival materials relating to psychical research and, when there is adequate funding, to support underfunded areas of research within the field.  The fund’s primary focus is protection of archives and libraries that document the ostensible macro-psychokinetic (macro-PK) phenomena that occur among groups of people, sometimes spontaneously with so-called psychic superstars or poltergeist agents, and frequently among sitter groups meeting for the express purpose of studying such phenomena.

The term “psychical research” was chosen over “survival research” to promote inclusiveness of explanations of physical psychic phenomena beyond those suggested by the spirit survival hypothesis.  This is consistent with the founding statement of the Society for Psychical Research (1882):  “to examine without prejudice or prepossession and in a scientific spirit those faculties of man, real or supposed, which appear to be inexplicable on any generally recognized hypothesis.”   The fund’s scope includes survival research, psychic (spiritual) healing as demonstrated through psychic surgery and hands-on healing modalities, and other types of anomalistic research. (Source)

About Richard C. Wilson