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1955: After 1955, the Society began making transfers to fund its board-restricted pension account. In the Society's statements, the total amount of these transfers was shown as expenditure. This analysis adjusts the expenditure by deducting only the amount actually spent to pay benefits.

Tables c.4-1 and c.4-2

1966: $266,000 from the operating account was spent on the Society's building renovation. This amount has been deducted from total operating expenditures.

1967: Prior to 1967, investment income included only dividends and inter­est received. After 1967, when the Society adopted the total return invest­ment policy, capital gains were realized to bring the investment income up to the spending limit.

1974: For the first time, the Society exceeded its 5 percent spending limit. Investment income, total income, and the operating surplus (deficit) are shown both with and without the 5 percent spending limit imposed. This presentation continues for the rest of the financial tables.

Tables c.4-3 through c.6-2

1975: After 1975, the data shown are compiled from audited financial statements (using accrual fund accounting) instead of from annual reports (using cash accounting) as had been done previously. (1979 and 1980 are exceptions; the audited financial statements were not available.)

1986: This "year" lasted only six months because the Society converted to a fiscal year ending June 30.

Table c.10

This table shows how the calculation was done to show what the value of the Society's endowment would be if it had held to a 5 percent spending limit. The table works as follows:

At the beginning of 1975, the market value of the Society's endowment stood at $10,455,000 (see upper left portion of table). The three-year-moving-average mar­ket value of the Society's endowment for 1974, 1973, and 1972 was $10,805,000. Using the spending rule of 5 percent, the Society would be allowed to spend $699,000 in 1975 (lower left part of table). Assuming that spending was spread out evenly over the course of the year, the equivalent of half of that amount, or $349,000, would appreciate during the year. Similarly, one-half of the $2,000 in capital gifts, $1,000, would earn a return over the course of the year. Summing the beginning-of-the-year market value, one-half of the funds spent, and one-half of the funds received results in a market value base of $10,805,000.

The market value base is used to calculate the amount of appreciation in the Society's investments during the year. Using a composite average return of 31.6 percent (calculated from average returns published by Cambridge Associates), the market value after appreciation but before spending and gifts received is estimated as $14,214,000. The Society's assumed 5 percent level of spending is then subtracted and actual gifts received are added, yielding an estimate of the year-end market value of the Society's endowment of $13,565,000 for 1975 if spending had been limited to 5 percent. The same sequence of calculations is then repeated through 1993.

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Source:  OpenStax, The new-york historical society: lessons from one nonprofit's long struggle for survival. OpenStax CNX. Mar 28, 2008 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col10518/1.1
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