Small 2011 surplus to help plug future deficits
University’s $325 million operating budget closes with $1 million to spare
BY ZACH VEILLEUX
Strong fundraising, access to federal stimulus funds and better-than-expected royalty income led the university to close the 2011 fiscal year with a $1.1 million surplus, but the approved 2012 budget is in a deficit position, according to Jim Lapple, vice president for finance.
“The university’s financial picture was stable in 2011 — our faculty competed strongly for federal stimulus grants and we had an excellent year for fundraising — but we are continuing to feel the effects of the 2009 economic turmoil,” says Mr. Lapple. “For that reason, with the Board’s approval, we have aggregated the fiscal year 2011 surplus with surpluses from fiscal years 2009 and 2010 in a reserve fund that will be used to address projected shortfalls in future budgets.”
This reserve fund, now totaling nearly $16 million, will be critical to help stabilize the university’s budget as spending from the endowment continues to decrease, Mr. Lapple says. Spending from the endowment — which accounts for approximately one-third of the university’s overall revenue — is based on a formula that considers the 12 most recent quarterly average market value figures. “Because the formula incorporates a time lag of three years, the declines we suffered in fiscal year 2009 will still be most significantly felt in fiscal year 2012 and beyond,” Mr. Lapple says.
The university’s fiscal year 2011 revenues, which totaled $325.3 million, come from three primary sources: grants and contracts from the government and private sources; income from the university’s endowment; and private fundraising efforts. Although spending from the endowment was down significantly, reflecting steep losses suffered in 2009, an especially good year for private fundraising made up some of the difference (see chart, below left). Government grants were up compared to previous years as a result of federal stimulus spending, and private grants were down slightly. Income from other sources, including license and royalty fees paid for the use of university-owned intellectual property, was also up.
On the expenditures side of the ledger (see chart, below right), which totaled $324.2 million, fiscal year 2011 saw an uptick in research spending — the destination of those stimulus dollars — and debt service, which rose, as expected, because of bonds issued to finance a portion of the construction of the Collaborative Research Center. Administrative costs held steady.
In fiscal year 2012, the university is projecting a $6.9 million deficit despite the fact that expenditures will be down significantly, to just $305.6 million. “As with fiscal year 2011, the main factors are stimulus funding, which is tapering off, and endowment income, which will decline eight percent, from $97 to $89 million,” says Mr. Lapple. “Since this is the last year in which the endowment losses from 2009 will be felt, we expect that endowment spending will stabilize, or potentially increase, in future years.”
Holiday party is December 8. After a two-year hiatus, the universitywide holiday celebration is back. All are invited to Weiss Café from 3:30 to 5 p.m. for food and beverages.
Happy anniversary. At an afternoon reception on October 27, the university celebrated employment anniversaries for 147 members of the community who had reached 10 years of service in 2009, 2010 or 2011. For a list of the names of the 10-year honorees, visit http://benchmarks.rockefeller.edu/anniversary.php.
Employees who have reached longer milestones will be recognized in the spring.
Bags for sale. Rockefeller reusable shopping bags are available for $3.25 each from the Weiss and CRC coffee carts. The sturdy, lightweight
nylon bags are the size of a plastic grocery bag and fold into an
attached pouch for storage. Carry one on your errands to help reduce waste.
Holiday Lectures are December 27. This year’s Rockefeller University Holiday Lectures on Science
for High School Students, begun in 1959 by Alfred E. Mirsky, a
biochemist and university librarian, will feature Sarah Schlesinger
and Marina Caskey from Ralph Steinman’s lab. About 400 students from schools around the city attend the lectures each year. This year’s lectures are entitled “Not Just Another Macrophage: How Ralph Steinman’s Controversial Discovery
of the Dendritic Cell Slowly Transformed Immunology.” Tickets are
required. For more information, call Gloria Phipps at x8967. http://www.rockefeller.edu/holidaylecture/2011.