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Brown sees 2.2% increase in net assets, 2.7% return on endowment in 2023 fiscal year

Gifts, pledges during FY23 total over $400 million for third consecutive year

The University raised $423.7 million in gifts and pledges during fiscal year 23, with support from over 33,750 donors. In FY22, the University raised $476.1 million in gifts and pledges, making FY23 the third year in a row in which the University raised over $400 million.
The University raised $423.7 million in gifts and pledges during fiscal year 23, with support from over 33,750 donors. In FY22, the University raised $476.1 million in gifts and pledges, making FY23 the third year in a row in which the University raised over $400 million.

The University saw a 2.2% increase in its net assets, which are valued at $7.7 billion, during the 2023 fiscal year, according to the University’s annual financial report. The report, shared in a Nov. 16 Today@Brown announcement by President Christina Paxson P’19 P’MD’20, includes information on the University’s financial statements, fundraising, investments and research. 

“The increase of net assets was driven by $308 million in gifts to the endowment and capital projects and investment performance of 2.7%, offset by the endowment return appropriated,” the report reads. 

The endowment also saw a 2.7% return and yielded $241.3 million to the University, which “supported approximately 16% of Brown’s annual operating budget,” Paxson wrote in the report. She referred to this growth as “noteworthy” in the face of “geopolitical uncertainty and sustained inflation.” 

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“This underscores the importance of careful stewardship of the endowment to ensure it will be available to support the University for generations to come,” Paxson added.

As of June 30, 2023 — the end of the University’s fiscal year — the endowment was valued at around $6.6 billion dollars and has seen a $75 million growth since FY22. The endowment is still valued at less than its peak in FY21, when it saw a market value of around $6.9 billion

“A short-term view would — accurately — identify the following two years as an unproductive stretch during which the portfolio has failed to grow at the necessary replacement rate to preserve the purchasing power of the endowment,” the report reads. 

“A longer-term view would — also accurately — accede that by not relinquishing the windfall gains of FY21, the endowment’s project of maintaining and growing as a financial resource for Brown’s mission of scholarship and research remains on track,” the report adds. “It is the longer-term view that carries more import.”

In recent weeks, the University has faced increasing challenges from community members to investments tied to the endowment. The 20 students affiliated with BrownU Jews for Ceasefire Now, who were arrested Nov. 8 after staging a sit-in at University Hall, called on the University to divest from “any company that profits from the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land,” a demand previously examined in a 2020 report from the now-defunct Advisory Committee on Corporate Responsibility in Investment Policies. Last week, the Undergraduate Council of Students also called on the University to “initiate a conversation among administration, students and faculty about divestment.”

The University’s operating expenses increased by 8.6%, totaling $1.28 billion dollars in FY23. Salaries, wages and benefits expenses grew in addition to non-compensation expenses, which include “increases in subcontracts for research, along with increases in study abroad programs,” according to the report. Expenses related to graduate student support fell by 2.4%.

In FY23, the University raised $423.7 million in gifts and pledges through the support of over 33,750 donors, according to the report. In FY22, the University raised $476.1 million in gifts and pledges, making FY23 the third year in a row in which the University raised over $400 million. The University raised $335.2 million in cash, a 7.4% increase from last year.

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Alumni contributed 65% of all new pledges and contributions. The University’s BrownTogether campaign reached $3.8 billion in total donations at the end of FY23, nearing its $4 billion goal. As of November, $3.922 billion in donations have been collected, according to the BrownTogether website.

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Ryan Doherty

Ryan Doherty is a Section Editor covering faculty, higher education and science & research. He is a sophomore concentrating in chemistry and economics who likes to partially complete crosswords in his free time.



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