Report of the Treasurer
2012 continued the trend of challenging financial times for the MBL. While the balance sheet shows an increase in net assets from $107.3 million at the end of 2011 to $109.7 million on December 31, 2012, the increase is due entirely to investment market gains, a $2 million gain on the sale of some long-held private stock, and a gain of $1.2 million from the sale of surplus real estate. The results from operations show a deficit of nearly $6 million for the year. Government grant revenue declined in 2012 due to the winding down of the federal stimulus funding received during the prior few years. MBL leadership and the Board of Trustees spent most of 2012 assessing the financial situation and identifying actions to mitigate the operational cash shortfalls that have plagued the MBL in recent years.
On the positive side, 2012 saw the completion of the Catalyst Capital Campaign, which raised a record amount of funding for the MBL. This comprehensive campaign provided support for MBL programs, operations, physical plant, and endowment. The value of the MBL’s endowment rose from $54.9 million at the end of 2006 to $69.4 million at the end of 2012. The physical plant is in very good condition and the severe storms that impacted much of the East Coast during the year left the MBL largely unscathed.
It has become clear that the growth initiatives of the past several years have strengthened the scientific staff of the MBL and improved the physical infrastructure on campus, but that the business model has not kept pace. By the end of 2012, MBL leadership and the Board had begun to explore the potential of affiliating with a strong research university partner in order to stabilize the financial position of the MBL, and also to open new opportunities for global scientific and educational initiatives. Following several months of discussions, an affiliation was formed with University of Chicago on July 1, 2013. With the success of the Catalyst Campaign, the highly acclaimed research and educational programs currently in place, and the opportunities afforded by the affiliation, the MBL’s future looks bright.