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June 9, 2009 2:21 PM

Gates Foundation endowment drops $2 billion

Posted by Kristi Heim

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's endowment has dropped $2 billion since January. The foundation's asset trust endowment fell to $27.5 billion from $29.5 billion at the end of 2008.

The new figure was reported quietly on a fact sheet on the foundation's Web site last month.

In the Gates Foundation 2008 annual report, released last week, it reported endowment assets of $29.5 billion. That figure reflected a 20 percent decrease in the endowment portfolio's value in 2008 as a result of the economic downturn.

It's a challenging time for all non-profits, even the world's largest private foundation.

"We're all digging deeper into our pockets and coming out with less money," Gates Foundation CEO Jeff Raikes wrote in an open letter accompanying the report. "Our endowments are down, so even if we draw a higher percentage than we did last year, we don't have as much to give away."

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