Office of the President
Berkeley, CA — January 2009
Dear Friends of the Graduate Theological Union,
The financial and economic crisis facing our nation has presented challenges for the GTU as well as for many other institutions and for many people in their personal lives. Many GTU friends, alumni, and staff have asked about how GTU is faring and what people can do to help. We are so grateful that our well being is on your minds and in your hearts. We especially thank those, who in this difficult time, are stepping forward to support our students and the unique interreligious programs that make us the most diverse partnership of graduate schools in the United States. Your generosity helps make us the place where religion meets the world. And there could not be a more important time, when our world is increasingly interdependent but so rife with conflict.
The GTU has a long history of being a good steward of our resources. We have budgeted conservatively, managed our broadly diversified investments well, and used our resources wisely – working to be cost-efficient and effective. We will continue these practices that have served us well.
The turmoil in the market has affected the GTU Endowment ─ which comprises 16% of our operating budget. Although our endowment gained 1.4% in Fiscal Year 2008 when most college endowments fell, our holdings decreased in value 23% from a base of $31 million at the end of the fiscal year to $24 million through the end of December. January may show further decline. Our endowment spending is 5% based on a 12 quarter average.
While the decrease in our endowment should not affect our operations this year, there may be impacts on scholarship money available going forward, and therefore on the ability of our students to afford higher education at the GTU. Although applications for admission to the GTU are strong for 2009, the talented students who are admitted to the GTU have many choices, and scholarships make a big difference in students’ decisions to pursue education at GTU or go elsewhere
Giving at the GTU
We are grateful to have a 6% increase in dollar contributions this year to our annual giving campaigns, including our President’s Circle, despite a 16% decrease in the number of donors compared to last year. We have seen an increase in online giving through our Web site at www.gtu.edu/give. This is an auspicious time to give, with a $30,000 challenge grant that will match new gifts dollar for dollar. Our Give Us Five campaign for alumni who may feel that a gift made today may be too small to make a difference is a great way to continue to feel part of the GTU, and to support us. When combined with others, your gift of $5, $10, or $20 will make a large difference.
We are also heartened that donors have made gifts of their estates. To date, we have 22 members in our Legacy Circle. There are many ways to create a legacy at the GTU. Our staff would be pleased to provide you the options designed to meet your philanthropic objectives. Please visit www.gtu.edu/plannedgiving for more information on planned giving opportunities.
Generous donors have supported the GTU for 42 years, through many times of economic uncertainty, and I am confident that this will continue. Gifts during these times are especially important. We thank you for your loyalty and all you have done for the GTU, and we look forward to continuing our work together.
James A. Donahue