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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU's Foundation feels effect of economic downturn

The New Mexico State University Foundation continues to experience tremendous success through contributions that support student scholarships, endowed college funds and endowed faculty and staff funds. But tough economic conditions have caused the foundation's endowment pool to decline.

"Due to the current economic situation, we have suffered losses in the world markets impacting our endowment funds, which is similar to what many higher education institutions are experiencing," said Nick Franklin, vice president for advancement and executive director of the NMSU Foundation. "Our foundation investment committee, with the assistance of our investment adviser, is closely monitoring the market and is taking the necessary steps to protect the foundation's endowment."

The NMSU Foundation's endowment is invested across several diverse areas. They include domestic and international equity (the stock market), fixed income (bonds), real assets (actual physical properties) and private capital ventures.

During the first half of the current fiscal year (July 1-Dec. 31, 2008) the foundation's endowment pool experienced a loss of more than 21 percent, bringing the value of the endowment to $97.4 million. This loss in value will not immediately reduce the payout to university programs.

Investment earnings also support the foundation's operations. Franklin said the foundation has implemented cost-saving measures to help reduce and streamline its budget in anticipation of significant cuts to its fiscal year 2009-2010 budget.

During the first half of the current fiscal year, private contributions to the foundation totaled $7.4 million with many of those gifts directly benefiting students, faculty and programs at NMSU. This brings the foundation's Doing What Counts campaign total to more than $206 million since the campaign was officially announced in the fall of 2005.

Overall contributions to the foundation support 874 endowed scholarship funds, 222 endowed college funds and 74 endowed professorships and chairs. In total, the endowment pool fund contributed $4,151,079 to NMSU during the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

"The fact that we continue to see donations during the current economic situation is a strong sign that people believe in NMSU and are continuing to support the university's initiatives," said Waded Cruzado, NMSU's interim president. "Without our endowments, the university would have to fund these activities with state money or through increased tuition."

Franklin said the foundation's strategy is to continue prudent management of the endowed funds and come out of this current economic downturn as a stronger institution.

The NMSU Foundation is a separately incorporated, nonprofit organization developed solely for the benefit of New Mexico State University. The purpose of the foundation is to secure, manage and invest private gifts for the benefit of NMSU's teaching, research, extension education and public service programs. For more information visit http://giving.nmsu.edu.