Executive Message - In Tough Economic Times, Salk Keeps Eye on Its Science and the Bottom Line
In this time of economic instability most organizations are experiencing financial strain. The Salk Institute is no exception.
Our major revenue streams are government research funding, private philanthropy from individuals and foundations, and our endowment. We have a solid track record for attracting research funding, and with the reputations and discoveries of our internationally renowned faculty members, we anticipate a continued base of research support.
As you know, the federal government is expanding its investment in basic research as part of the economic stimulus package. We expect to benefit from this temporary increase in the budgets of federal research agencies like the NIH and NSF.
However, we are concerned about our revenues from both philanthropy and our endowment. Many individuals and foundations, faced with their own dwindling resources, may be less able to continue their current levels of philanthropy. Regrettably, our own endowment has already declined by close to 30%.
And so, like many organizations, we are aggressively looking for ways to cut costs and manage our remaining resources more efficiently. Mindful of our uncertain and potentially prolonged economic environment, we are engaging our entire community in a campaign to save energy and identify areas for meaningful cost cutting. We are examining every way in which we work, seeking everyone's best ideas and exploring a range of options.
But being exceptionally cost-conscious can only take us so far. Our private philanthropic support is critically important to help the Salk recruit and retain some of the world's brightest scientists and maintain our research vitality.
One recent example of strategic philanthropic support is a $5 million gift from the Glenn Foundation for Medical Research in January – making the Salk the third Glenn-funded institution (joining Harvard and MIT) to study the molecular basis of aging. The new Glenn center draws from nine of Salk's leading laboratories specializing in genetic analysis, stem cell biology and metabolism research to address two overarching goals: defining a healthy lifespan; and determining if there is an underlying biological process of aging that is universal to all organisms.
Despite the economic turmoil our nation is experiencing and the stress it places on us all, we are committed to strengthening the Salk's ability to produce major advances in basic life science. By the time you receive this edition of Inside Salk our new president, William R. Brody, will be on board. You will learn more about our distinguished scientist-leader and hear from him in our next issue.