KU Endowment adopts cost-saving measures, including hiring freeze, 10% budget reduction
photo by: Nick Krug/Journal-World File Photo
Like the University of Kansas, KU Endowment adopted cost-saving measures this fiscal year because of financial uncertainty related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michelle Strickland, spokesperson for the nonprofit organization, said in an email to the Journal-World that these measures include a 10% operating budget reduction for the current fiscal year, the implementation of a hiring freeze and no salary increases this fiscal year.
Strickland said three employees who serve in officer roles took a 10% reduction in their salaries for six months. Six employees accepted voluntary retirement offers. Additionally, KU Endowment’s offices were closed for 10 days in 2020 — six Fridays in the summer and Dec. 28 through Dec. 31. Employees who had paid-time-off hours available could use them on those days, Strickland said.
“Like many area businesses and our university partners, KU Endowment adopted several cost-savings measures in response to and in consideration of the challenges stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic,” she said. Strickland called these “proactive measures” in response to the uncertainty created by the pandemic.
“Taking those steps in the first half of our fiscal year better positioned us for what might develop in terms of philanthropic support, the capital markets or the public health environment,” she said.
KU Endowment is independent of the university, but serves as the official fundraising foundation for KU. Strickland said that because KU was only halfway through its fiscal year it was hard to draw conclusions about the impact of the pandemic on the overall pace of donations. However, KU Endowment has not seen a significant decrease in donations, Strickland said, and the organization will be able to continue supporting the university.
“As a result of the proactive measures we took to reduce our own budget and the resilience of our investments, KU Endowment is able to fulfill its mission of providing perpetual philanthropic support to KU,” she said.
In fiscal year 2020, donations enabled KU Endowment to provide $160.7 million to KU, according to KU Endowment’s 2020 annual report. The report also stated that as of June 30, 2020, KU Endowment had $1.6 billion in its Long-Term Investment Program, a professionally managed diversified portfolio.