Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winners and losers among NY's top nonprofits

Crain's annual list of the largest nonprofits shows some surprising results.

The recession didn't hurt all nonprofits last year.

The Institute of International Education, a 91-year-old nonprofit that creates international study and training programs, and manages the renowned Fulbright Program for the U.S. government, actually increased its operating budget a whopping 18.4% in fiscal year 2010 to $342.4 million.

Executives at the IIE attributed their success last year to having a wide range of international donors.

“The IIE is fortunate to have a diverse set of program sponsors and donors, including some government and private sector funders outside the United States and in sectors that were less affected by the economy,” said Peggy Blumenthal, chief operating officer of the nonprofit.

In addition, the IIE administers programs for private foundations and corporations that expanded their international training initiatives last year, Ms. Blumenthal said.

The increase bumped the IIE up to third place from fifth on Crain's annual ranking of the 25 largest nonprofits in the New York area, which was released Monday.

[Learn more by downloading the full Crain's list.]

The Top 5 nonprofits on Crain's list also include the United States Fund for UNICEF & Affiliate, the New York Blood Center Inc., the International Rescue Committee Inc., and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The IRC, which helps refugees around the world, also grew its operating budget last year to $312.9 million from $287.8 million the previous year. The U.S. Fund for UNICEF slightly cut its budget to $433.8 million from $483.6 million; and the budget for the New York Blood Center remained the same.

The Met suffered more than other institutions during the economic downturn. Because of a drop in donations and losses in its endowment, the museum was forced to cut its operating budget to $289.2 million for fiscal 2010, which ended June 30, from $309.5 million the previous year. The cuts pushed the museum down to fifth place on the list from third the previous year.

Thomas Campbell, the museum's director, said despite the budget cuts, the museum managed to sustain its full exhibition and educational program and keep all of its galleries open.

“While the ongoing financial challenges call for rigor and discipline in expenditures and programmatic priorities, the museum is fundamentally sound,” Mr. Campbell said. “With its outstanding collections, talented staff, and devoted supporters, the Met will weather the economic challenges, just as it has weathered previous challenges in its 139-year existence.”

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