Monday, December 12, 2005

Eroding foundation

Story121205_3: "Eroding foundation
Endowment's assets fall with Lilly stock; heavy sale of shares dim chances for rebound

By Scott Olson
IBJ Reporter

Wall Street is chipping away at Indianapolis' most-venerable philanthropic institution.

The value of Lilly Endowment's primary asset--Eli Lilly and Co. shares--has dropped by more than half since 2000, forcing leaders to sell additional shares in order to give away hundreds of millions of dollars as required each year.

Still, the privately run endowment remains a major Eli Lilly shareholder, with nearly 148 million shares of the company's stock. Now hovering around $50, Lilly's slumbering shares are down dramatically from the $93 they fetched five years ago.

As a result, the endowment's value tumbled from $15.5 billion to $7.5 billion, renewing questions about whether it should diversify its investments."

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