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Ferris Foundation reports favorable endowment management results

BIG RAPIDS - Endowment management results for The Ferris Foundation continue to outperform most university and foundation returns, as noted in the recent 2006 National Association of College and University Business Officers Endowment Study. The Foundation's one-year return of 13.7 percent placed it within the top 20 percent of the 700 endowment funds reporting results in the annual study.

Most impressive is the Foundation's average three-year return of 16.8 percent, which places the Foundation in the top 4 percent of all endowments in the country for the three-year period. What makes this performance so impressive is that these levels of returns are usually only achieved by the largest endowments.

Ferris State University President David L. Eisler is very pleased with the report findings and is optimistic about the future growth of the Foundation.

"The successful returns we've experienced on our investments demonstrate that we are excellent stewards of the funds entrusted to us. As The Ferris Foundation continues to grow, it provides the resources our students, faculty, staff and programs need for continued excellence and to embrace new opportunities," commented Eisler.

The Foundation's decision to invest in emerging markets, REITs and high-yield securities added significant returns. The Foundation had larger allocations to stocks than other schools, which provided key areas of performance, according to Christopher Meyer, Investment Consultant for the Foundation and University of Fund Evaluation Group, Cincinnati, Ohio. The Foundation Investment Committee continues to review its allocation to alternative investments and has the ability to invest in assets that used to be only accessible to the largest endowments.

"The Ferris Foundation's endowment was ranked 25th out of more than 650 endowments for the past three years. Very few endowment funds the size of the Foundation's have achieved this type of performance," stated Richard Duffett, executive director of The Ferris Foundation.

Currently at $34 million in endowment assets, The Ferris Foundation was established to support the mission and goals of Ferris State University by providing student assistance and funds for programmatic improvements. Members of the Investment Committee included Foundation Board directors Dennis Lerner, Gary Trimarco (chair) and Thomas Scholler, and University representatives Richard Christner, Richard Duffett, David Nicol and Karen Thompson.

NACUBO, based in Washington, D.C., serves a higher education membership of more than 1,500 colleges, universities and service providers. Each year the organization, with the help of its sponsor, TIAA-CREF, seeks to document endowment returns, asset allocation trends and spending amounts in its endowment study.