Survey Says: Smaller Nonprofit Endowments Outperformed Larger Ones in 2009

(5-3-10) Noelle Barton and Ben Gose summarize Chronicle of Philanthropy survey findings:

Small was beautiful in 2009. The smallest charity and foundation endowments solidly outperformed their bigger and more celebrated counterparts, according to a new Chronicle survey. Investment returns varied depending on when an endowment’s fiscal year ended, but the endowments with less than $100-million in assets had gentler declines and greater advances than their peers with assets of $1-billion or more...The strong returns for small endowments may also be an endorsement for simplicity over complexity. The smallest funds have a median of 50 percent of their assets in stocks and a median 25 percent in bonds...The biggest endowments have more of their assets in so-called alternative investments like hedge funds, real estate, and private-equity funds.

Chronicle subscribers can read more here.

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