(News One) — Spelman College’s endowment fund was reportedly worth more than $350 million in 2010, making it the largest private endowment of all historically black colleges and universities, and second only to Howard University in largest overall endowment. Though Spelman’s endowment is only a fraction of those at predominantly white universities like Harvard, whose $26 billion fund top all U.S. colleges, the fund’s impressive growth is a testament to its success cultivating a host of alternative investment strategies. Typically, most schools rely on financial instruments like government securities that carry little risk, provide a secure revenue stream, but ultimately offer a small return. In contrast, Spelman’s endowment has posted better than average returns by dedicating much of its fund to private equity. And it is exactly these investments that have watchdog groups scrutinizing the private endowment of America’s first black female college, putting its fund raising efforts, its mission and moral integrity into question.
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