Letter to the Editor


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UI Foundation remains strong

The Jan. 22 guest column in The Daily Iowan (“The UI Foundation needs a major overhaul”) asserts that the UI Foundation’s “investment results have been lacking,” but the column offers no factual substantiation of this claim. A good resource for such information is the National Association of College and University Business Officers. That group’s Annual Endowment Study offers useful comparative data; following are some recent performance figures, including some from the study.

In the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2009 (a very difficult year for all investors), the UI Foundation’s returns on the endowment it manages (valued at $714 million at fiscal year end) was -18.6 percent. The national association’s average for that period was -19 percent, and the S&P 500 Index was -26.2 percent. The guest column implies that the UI Foundation is not competitive with other institutions that value excellence. In this same fiscal-year comparison, two excellent institutions — the University of Michigan (public) and Harvard University (private) — had investment returns of -21.0 and -27.3, respectively. Further, the UI Foundation’s preliminary investment return for calendar year 2009 is +34.9 percent, versus +26.5 percent for the S&P 500 Index for the same period.

Through both a challenging investment environment and one marked by some recovery, we feel the UI Foundation has more than held its own in investment management and endowment performance for the UI, thanks in part to the excellent counsel we receive from our professional advisers and experienced volunteers.

Lynette Marshall
president and CEO, UI Foundation

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