Fiscal Year 2009
As the global economic crisis led to a 27.3 percent decline in Harvard’s investment returns during fiscal year 2009, the Nieman Foundation took steps to trim operating costs and plan for substantial reductions in fiscal year 2010.
Substantial savings were achieved by trimming capital improvements and by reducing travel, catering and communications spending. Operating results were positive with a net surplus of $570,000, including $430,000 in flexible reserves.
Revenues increased by nine percent over fiscal year 2008, due to an 18 percent increase in payout from endowment funds. (The fiscal year 2009 endowment payout was determined in July 2008, prior to the onset of the economic crisis.) However, that figure was offset by a decrease in current use gifts and sponsored revenue.
Expenses increased by 19 percent over fiscal year 2008, due to the addition of the Nieman Journalism Lab, increased fellowship stipends, the 70th Anniversary Convocation, and penalty payments related to the cancellation of the Nieman Conference on Narrative Journalism.
This changed financial landscape led to a reduction of the Nieman class size to 24 fellows in fiscal year 2010 (down from 29 the year before), a decrease in the foundation’s workforce from 18 to 17 and the suspension of the foundation’s annual narrative journalism conference.