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FAU Foundation suffering from market downturn

The Florida Atlantic University Foundation, which provides the school's campuses with millions of dollars in aid, has been hard hit by the economic downturn and Wall Street's woes.

The foundation's endowment dropped to $116.2 million at the end of March from $143.6 million in November 2008.

"The value of the stocks in which our money is invested has gone down, so now our whole endowment is suffering," said Janette Robbins, the vice president of university advancement.

The foundation has a diverse group of holdings and money managers, not made public because of confidentiality statements made with private equity firms. But even diversity did not help stem losses during a worldwide recession.

Money generated from investments is supposed to help fund scholarships, academic research and other campus needs. Now the foundation faces the reality that it must cut back on its gifts, administrators say.

To do that, the foundation has asked the deans of the various colleges to provide a list of priorities for assistance. This was not done in previous years.

One option the foundation is considering is temporarily canceling some scholarships. “We are going to need people to make more donations to cover the loss,” Robbins said. With the recession, donations have fallen off, compounding the foundation's woes, Robbins said.




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