January 20, 2009
In good times and bad, the core mission of the Northwest Foundation is that of providing scholarship assistance. With the downturn in the financial markets, friends of the Foundation may be wondering whether it will have an impact on our ability to fund student scholarships.
The answer is maybe. For the 295 endowed scholarship funds managed by the Foundation, we use a three year rolling average of fiscal year-end balances to help provide more consistency from year to year. Because it is spread out over a three-year period, the effect can be muted if there is a timely market recovery.
Another moderating factor is the Foundation's investment in bonds, which have done well due to the drop in interest rates. In addition, six months prior to the market's swoon, the board worked with its professional investment adviser to place a portion of the endowment into investments less correlated to the stock market. That has proved to be a good decision, with those investments significantly outperforming the broad market indices. While several tactical moves have helped us avoid the full effect of the market downturn, our overall objective is a long-term strategy that reflects the investment timeline of the Northwest Foundation, which is perpetuity.
A third positive factor is the amazing acceptance of the Adopt-a-Bearcat program. The many generous contributions to this program allowed us to award a total of 275 scholarships for the current academic year. Adopt-a-Bearcat gifts made now will serve as a bridge over the current bear market, helping us maintain scholarship support levels to Northwest students.
Despite being buffeted by turmoil in the markets, our glass is decidedly half-full. As we enter a New Year, we're thankful for those who have helped restore a beautiful campus by contributing to the tree restoration fund in the wake of last winter's devastating ice storm. We're thankful for the sustained excellence of Bearcat football that led to an 11th playoff bid
in Coach Tjeerdsma's 15 seasons. And we're thankful for the many friends of Northwest who continue to help us provide support to the University and its students.
Mike Faust '74