In 2011, the MBL continued to grow its contributions in biological science and education, and made significant progress in its fund-raising efforts.

Last year the MBL raised over $15 million in gifts and pledges as of December 31, 2011, bringing the total amount of funds raised in our Catalyst Campaign to $127,692,278 and exceeding our $125,000,000 goal one year early. Nonetheless, this was a challenging year from a financial perspective, with net assets declining by 6%, or $7 million year-over-year, as reflected in the non-operating portion of the accompanying financial statement. This was primarily attributable to investment losses in the volatile stock markets experienced in 2011. However, support for the annual fund in the amount of $1,070,377 provided important operating support, and permanently restricted endowment net assets grew by nearly $4 million, continuing the emphasis on long-term growth for the MBL.

Much of the growth in our research revenues in 2011 was due to continued stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. This funding has been a significant boost to revenues in recent years and has provided much needed research funding to our scientists.

The success of the Catalyst Campaign and the resultant strengthening of the scientific staff of the MBL position the organization to continue on its path toward a sustainable business model. While there will still be a strong focus on increasing the amount of federal funding available to MBL scientists, we will also be working hard on broadening the base of philanthropy. At the same time, we are analyzing the current business model, identifying areas for future expansion as well as areas where expense reductions might be realized. A strengthening of the MBL’s cash reserves is in order and is the top management priority as we move into 2012 and beyond.

— Mary B. Conrad, Treasurer