Endowment growth is tops among Massachusetts universities

Tufts University’s endowment growth significantly outpaced all of the other major schools in Massachusetts, bolstered in part by two large donations, according to a report in the September 22 edition of the Boston Business Journal.

The Tufts endowment broke the billion-dollar mark during the 2006 fiscal year, increasing by 34 percent to $1.2 billion. Tufts’ investments earned $90 million, or 13.9 percent, better than the median return of 10.8 percent of the Wilshire Trust Universe Comparison Service, the newspaper reported.

The change in school endowments is the net result of three factors: new donations, withdrawals and investment gains. Overall, endowments at the state’s major universities grew 14.9 percent, according to the business newspaper. The growth in Tufts’ endowment exceeded that of MIT (25 percent) and Harvard (12.7 percent), according to the newspaper.

Tufts’ gains resulted from $166 million in cash gifts given to the university, including a $100 million gift from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar, A88, and his wife Pam, J89, and a $40 million gift by Loews Corp. co-chairman Jonathan Tisch, A76, to endow the Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service.

“This is a period of tremendous excitement and momentum,” Brian Lee, vice president for university advancement told the Boston Business Journal. “This is a university poised.” Tufts generally spends 5 percent of its endowment on programs and scholarships, Lee said.