Nonprofit Endowment Returns Still Sluggish in 2012, Survey Finds

Nonprofits Earn Meager Investment Gains 2

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, in Boothbay, established its endowment in 2007, the year it opened its 248-acre public garden.

Endowments at the nation’s charities and foundations are on pace for a second year in a row of lackluster investment returns in 2012, according to a new Chronicle survey.

The survey of 268 organizations that reported two years of data found that endowments recorded a median return on investment of 5 percent in 2011 and are seeing a similar rate of return this year, compared with a 12-percent gain in 2010.

The modest gains aren’t enough to recover the steep