By Gene R. Wurth, President/CEO, OREF
Although the past year was a challenging one for OREF and for many philanthropic organizations across the United States, the Orthopaedic Research and Education Foundation (OREF) had another successful year in seeking private support in 2002. The total of gifts and pledges for 2002 was $9.9 million, or approximately 42 percent above our targeted income.
That would be a phenomenal result in any year, but its particularly impressive given the state of the economy. That total includes $1.9 million for the Annual Fund (annual gifts from individuals), $3.7 million in corporate support, $4.2 million in support for various endowments (both cash and pledges), and $1.5 million in Planned Gift arrangements (insurance policies, charitable trusts, estate gifts).
Revised 2002 totals
Happily, we had to revise our totals upward from those reported at the AAOS Annual Meeting in February. While we were in New Orleans, the U.S. Postal Service delivered a box of checks and pledge forms to the OREF officeall postmarked Dec. 30 and 31, 2002. For some unknown reason these were not delivered earlier, but instead were delivered long after our Annual Meeting Donor Wall had been prepared. As a result we had an additional $190,000 in gifts and pledges to add to our totals after we returned from the meeting.
2002 giving exceeded goals
Throughout the year there was concern about the vitality of the American economy and the stock market. We were especially concerned because the vast majority of our Annual Fund support arrives in the latter part of the calendar year. In this case, the third quarter of 2002 was a bad economic period. OREF, like almost every other charity across the country, was uncertain how these events would affect total giving.
In actuality, we saw a slight increase in the amount of money donated to OREF in our Annual Campaign, which raises funds to support on-going operations and annual funding of grants. We also exceeded our goals for corporate giving, endowment gifts made by cash or stock, endowment pledges and deferred gifts for the year.
Budget, investments managed wisely
In addition to exceeding our expectations for income, OREF staff managed our expense budget wisely; as a result our operating expenses for the year were 11 percent below expectations.
OREF also has done exceptionally well in managing its investments, despite the downturn in the financial markets. For 2002, OREF endowment funds lost 2.5 percent. By comparison, the S&P 500 for the year was down more than 20 percent. In the past three years OREF endowment returns have been: (3.7 percent) in 2000; (1 percent) in 2001 and (2.5 percent) in 2002. The S&P 500 returns have been about (13 percent in 2000, (13 percent) in 2001, and (23 percent) in 2002.
The conclusion is that OREF continues to be a well-managed organization that does a good job of raising money, uses its resources wisely and excels in managing its investments.
Looking ahead to 50th anniversary
The past year was a significant one in the evolution of OREF. In just two years we will be celebrating our golden anniversary50 years since the founding of OREF. We already are beginning to look forward to that time and are making plans to build on our success in recent years. We thank you for all you have done for OREF over the years and hope you will join us in ensuring that we have even greater success in the future.