<p>Brown University’s endowment earned an 18.5-percent return and grew to a market value of $2.5 billion in fiscal year 2011. The endowment supports need blind admission policy, academic programs, professorships, graduate fellowships and research.</p>

PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — Cynthia Frost, chief investment officer for Brown University, announced today that Brown University’s endowment earned an 18.5-percent return for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2011, and grew to $2.5 billion.

The $2.5-billion market value for fiscal 2011 reflects the investment return, the more than $69 million in new gifts to the endowment, and a distribution of $111 million toward the operating budget. For the last 10 years, Brown’s endowment had an average annual compound return of 7.7 percent, compared to the MSCI World Index 10-year return of 4.0 percent.

Brown’s endowment contributed 14 percent of the University’s fiscal 2011 operating budget. The endowment is essential in supporting Brown’s commitment to a need-blind admission policy. Forty-three percent of Brown undergraduates receive financial aid directly from the University, totaling $81.4 million in the 2010-11 academic year. The endowment also supports professorships, graduate student fellowships, library acquisitions, the Division of Biology and Medicine, more than 60 academic programs, all varsity sports, and building maintenance. The endowment is designed to sustain these vital areas in perpetuity.

After the economic crisis of 2008-09, the University’s Committee on Investments chose to hold a portfolio with slightly less market exposure than in prior years. At the end of fiscal 2011, the investment held 21 percent in global stocks, 31 percent in hedged strategies, 22 percent in private equity, 14 percent in real assets, and 12 percent in fixed income and cash.