Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

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Search results for "endowment" ...

  • In Donors We Trust

    This entry features the Detroit Free Press' innovative and exhaustive look into irregularities in the management of the University of Michigan’s $11 billion endowment. The years-long investigation detailed how executives at some of the nation's top investment firms donated hundreds of millions of dollars to the University of Michigan while the university in turn invested as much as $4 billion in those companies' funds. More than $400 million of that amount was sent into funds managed by three alumni who advise the university on the investments of its endowment. Critics who reviewed the newspaper’s computational and statistical analysis said Michigan’s approach of investing with some of its top donors, who also help guide the university's endowment, creates a conflict. After the publication of more than a dozen stories throughout 2018, the university reformed its conflict-of-interest rules; its president apologized for a lack in oversight; a member of its board of regents returned more than $20,000 in campaign contributions from an investment fund leader; and voters ousted both board incumbents running for re-election.
  • In Donors We Trust

    Everyone knows that college is more and more expensive to attend. So why are college and university endowments skyrocketing and now worth more than $567 billion? We started with the University of Michigan, lauded as one of the world’s best public universities which had stockpiled an endowment worth more than $11 billion. We found that university officials invested a good chunk of that endowment – one of the country’s largest among public institutions - in hundreds of private funds across the world. More importantly, our months-long investigation identified a select group who had secretly benefited: top university donors and alumni investment advisers who run private equity, hedge and venture capital funds and real estate investment firms. After our stories published throughout 2018, the university changed its investment policies; rerouted nearly $2 million into more student aid; made new investments based in the state; publicly released university executive compensation information after losing a FOIA lawsuit brought by the Free Press; and saw two university regents (i.e., trustees) lose their elections in November to those who promised more financial transparency and accountability based on our reporting.
  • Universitiy Building Boom

    An unprecedented multibillion-dollar building boom is under way at U.S. universities and colleges—despite budget shortfalls, endowment declines and seemingly stretched resources. Some $11 billion in new facilities have sprung up on American campuses in each of the last two years—more than double what was spent on buildings a decade ago, according to the market-research firm McGraw-Hill Construction—even as schools are under pressure to contain costs.
  • Colleges Use Cheap Loans to Lure Stars to Faculty

    “Although colleges and universities have often provided housing for officials to live on campuses, in recent years they have also begun to use low-interest or no-interest mortgage loans as a recruiting tool, sometimes from their own endowments”.
  • Politics, scholarship and the Armenian Genocide

    The first story in the series documented the resignation of Donald Quataert, a distinguished American scholar, who stepped down from the chair of the Georgetown University-based Institute of Turkish Studies. Quataert said he had been forced out by a defunding threat from the Government of Turkey. Several board members also resigned and said political infringement of academic freedom was the reason. The second story in the series looks at evidence of a deliberate attempt to maintain Turkish state control of the U.S. nonprofit. Present and former Turkish ambassadors controlled the endowment that provided almost all the funding for the scholarly institute at the time of Quataert's resignation. Also, founding members of the institute as well as endowment trustees had been party to Ankara's decades-long campaign to suppress international recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
  • Public Schools, Private Money

    Reporters exposed problems with the management and transparency of nonprofit foundations associated with the North Carolina State University system, and excessive fees charged by Bank of America to run the North Carolina School of the Arts Foundation's endowment.
  • The Sacred & the Profane

    The Riverfront Times finds that "Father Lawrence Biondi is praised for revamping the campus of St. Louis University and boosting its endowment. But the enemies he's made along the way claim that behind the fountains, statues and donations stands a Jesuit bully who's more interested in the material than the spiritual.
  • Unstable Element: Suddenly, Small Gaps In Nuclear Security Look Like Chasms

    The Wall Street Journal examines evidence that al Qaeda, the organization of Osama bin Laden, has tried to obtain weapons-grade nuclear material. The article looks at the possibilities for terrorists to build nuclear weapons by using resources of current or former nuclear-power countries. Even though the reporters have found the evidence related to al Qaeda to be "sketchy and unverified ... it has sent authorities around the world rushing to shore up security measures that are in some cases surprisingly weak." The story finds that "armed guards at nuclear-weapons depots often lose in exercises with mock assailants," and that "materials for making a nuclear bomb are accessible enough to support a black market."
  • Democracy Inc.

    Wilson Quarterly looks at "the democracy industry" built on the American ideological commitment to advancing the democratic cause in the world. The report questions the practice of international corps of observers certifying election results in foreign lands, and finds that "outsiders sometimes do more harm than good." The author points to the example of the 1998 elections in Cambodia where the government denied opposition parties access to radio and television, and marred the election with violence. The story reveals that some foreign observers "failed to report these problems or blithely dismissed all signs of trouble." It also looks at "a subtler form of damage" that the democracy industry did in Indonesia in 1998 by stealing "the spotlight from local groups."
  • Government On Autopilot

    The National Journal reports on how and why billions of dollars get spent on unauthorized government programs each year. Legislation governing the operations of many federal programs including the Justice Department, Energy Department and the National Endowment for the Arts expired years ago and has not been reauthorized. It is much easier to keep funding these programs than to reauthorize them.