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VantagePoint: Resilience in a Time of Uncertainty

Global inflation has been higher and more persistent than most economists anticipated. Some inflationary pressures related to the pandemic have started to show signs of easing, but new pressures related to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and lockdowns associated with China’s “zero-COVID” policy create new challenges. At the same time, central banks have declared war on […]

May 9, 2022

Endowment Radar Study 2021: A Growing Role

Endowment Radar is a methodology that Cambridge Associates developed to visually evaluate the endowment’s role in the college and university enterprise. The four components of Endowment Radar measure the endowment’s impact on budget funding (Endowment Dependence), pricing strategy (Endowment Support-to-Financial Aid), balance sheet health (Endowment-to-Debt), and an indicator of future purchasing power (Net Flow Rate). […]

April 14, 2022

Endowment Radar Study 2020: The Endowment as Ballast

While colleges and universities have faced several financial fissures due to the disruptions of COVID-19, their endowments have been a source of financial stability. Four key financial indicators tell this story: operating margins were compressed, tuition discounts grew, institutions borrowed more debt, and endowment spending was consistent. In this note, we review these financial pressures and the endowment implications that emerged in Cambridge Associates’ second annual Endowment Radar Study of private college and university finances.

April 5, 2021

Endowment Spending to the Rescue?

The current health crisis is creating extraordinary financial disruptions for nonprofit enterprises, leading stakeholders to ask if the endowment can come to the rescue of revenue shortfalls and often growing costs. How should an institution evaluate this, and what are the long-term implications of boosting spending beyond policy levels? First, we consider whether it is […]

October 15, 2020

Disruption, Liquidity Sources, and the Role of the Endowment

Nonprofit institutions have not been spared from the impact of COVID-19. In June 2020, when many endowed institutions were completing fiscal year 2020 and on the brink of a new fiscal year, we issued a survey that focused on endowment spending and other sources of liquidity for these institutions.

October 1, 2020

Endowment Radar: Plotting the Role of the Endowment

There are many facets of higher education finance, and it is often challenging to describe how the endowment fits into an institution’s financial picture. Endowment Radar is a visual tool that plots the endowment’s role in the college and university business model. It focuses on four key metrics to assess the endowment’s contributions to the […]

July 28, 2020

Foundation Spending Strategies Vary for 2020

In April 2020, Cambridge Associates conducted a survey of our foundation clients to gauge sentiment about spending for the current year and to understand potential sources of flexibility and liquidity in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. This year has brought tremendous disruption and uncertainty, but foundations are approaching these challenges with responsive philanthropy and a long-term view, so they can support important causes in 2020 and beyond.

May 14, 2020

Endowment Governance

The “secret sauce” to long-term investment success is, in most cases, the governance that guides and oversees the investment program. In this series, we discuss the roles and responsibilities of governance; highlight the steps to build a diverse and collaborative committee, and outline the culture of a well-functioning committee.

May 7, 2020

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