Hopkins seeks to bolster endowment

January 29, 1994|By Thomas W. Waldron | Thomas W. Waldron,Staff Writer

The Johns Hopkins Institutions are planning a campaign to raise between $750 million and $1 billion to bolster their endowment and pay for ambitious building plans at their East Baltimore medical complex.

Although the campaign is not yet formally under way, Hopkins has been planning strategy, identifying needs at the university and health system, and soliciting large gifts for at least two years.

When it is firmly established,the campaign's goal will exceed $750 million, perhaps reaching $1 billion, placing it well beyond the $644 million raised in the Hopkins campaign that ended in 1990, according to Robert J. Haley, Hopkins' vice president for development and alumni relations.

"We are planning, doing the kind of preliminary work that's always done before major campaigns," Mr. Haley said. "We're looking toward an Oct. 1 public launch, and we're very excited."

A major boost to the campaign was Zanvyl Krieger's $50 million gift to the endowment of the School of Arts and Sciences, which was announced in December 1992. Mr. Krieger, a Baltimore philanthropist, required the university to raise another $50 million over the next four years.

Hopkins also must raise about $75 million to construct a $140 million cancer center on North Broadway, for which the state of Maryland has committed $30.5 million.

Groundbreaking for the center is planned for spring.

It is unclear what other medical-related building projects will be targeted in the campaign, although Hopkins has long-range plans to build a children's hospital on the site of the Hopkins Inn, a cardiovascular center and a glass-enclosed town center.

Officials at the Homewood campus have no major capital projects, and are more concerned with boosting the university's endowment, which is considered modest for an institution of Hopkins' size and reputation.

A larger endowment would provide a cushion should federal research funding be cut. And university officials would like to avoid a repeat of the late 1980s, when Hopkins went through painful financial cuts to cope with deficits in the School of Arts and Sciences and the university-owned Peabody Institute.

Hopkins' endowment stood at $738.1 million last year. Hopkins takes only 3 percent of its operating income from endowment, a smaller amount than better-endowed universities.

"We're more reliant than we'd like to be on other sources of income," campus spokesman Dennis O'Shea said.

Hopkins' endowment ranked No. 19 among universities nationally in 1992, the last year for which figures were available.

Harvard University had the largest endowment, $5.1 billion, followed by the University of Texas, Princeton and Yale.

Members of the boards of trustees at both the university and medical center will be counted on both to make donations and persuade their rich friends to do the same.

Key leaders of the effort include Morris W. Offit, the head of a New York investment banking firm and chairman of the university's board; H. Furlong Baldwin, head of Mercantile Bank and chairman of the medical institutions' boards; and Michael R. Bloomberg, president of Bloomberg Financial Markets and chairman of the two boards' joint fund-raising committee.

The climate for major donations improved last year, thanks to a change in the federal tax code. The new law allows contributors to take a tax deduction for the entire value of gifts such as stocks or real estate, rather than just the value of the property when it was first purchased.

"Those gifts have been on the rise in a dramatic way this past year," said Frank Balz, executive director of the National Institute of Independent Colleges and Universities.

"I think the atmosphere is pretty good."

While it will be the largest in Hopkins' history, the campaign will not match those of several other universities.

Yale University is trying to raise $1.5 billion and had commitments for $565 million when its campaign began officially in May 1992. The largest gifts were $85 million from the Bass family of Fort Worth, Texas, and $50 million from longtime Yale benefactor Paul Mellon.

Harvard University will officially begin a $2 billion campaign this spring.

In Hopkins' last major campaign, which ran from September 1984 to February 1990, the $644 million raised was well above the original goal of $450 million.

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