The Donor Watch List of Wealthiest College Graduates identifies high potential targets for fundraisers


May 27th, 2010
With a large number of college annual giving campaigns concluding at the end of June, it is very likely that the recent precipitous drop in the Dow Jones Industrial Average is not helping college development teams in their final push to achieve their annual goals. As of Friday May 21st, the Dow was down 1,115 points from its April 26th high and down 663 points since the end of the first Quarter. Given that many top donors and college trustees have large portions of their net worths invested in publically-traded companies, these invaluable contributors may be less inclined to donate large sums over the next month.

Fortunately for many colleges, some of their wealthiest alums have seen their portfolios rise since the end of the first Quarter. According to Donor Watch’s list of the wealthiest college graduates*, which includes 125 alums of US undergraduate institutions, nearly 28% of alums on the list actually saw their equity portfolios of SEC filed holdings rise since March 31st. Combined, these 35 alums’ equity portfolios increased by over $1,180 million. Another 20% of DonorWatch’s wealthiest college graduates saw their portfolios decrease by less than 5%.

Among the gainers on the list, Harvard College had 4 alums whose portfolios increased by a combined $41 million. The group of Harvard alums was led by Washington Post (WPO) CEO Donald Graham whose holdings in the newspaper company jumped by over $15 million. Three alums of University of Pennsylvania outdid their Ivy League rival as their combined equity holdings gained an impressive $263 million. This group was led by Daniel Och, the founder of hedge fund manager Och-Ziff Capital Management (NYSE: OZM), who saw his holdings in his hedge fund firm increase by $203 million.

A couple of University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill alums have also realized major gains, as CEO Levine Howard of Family Dollar Stores Inc (FDO) and Executive Chairman Fredric N Eshelman of Pharmaceutical Product Development Inc (PPDI) saw their holdings in their companies increase by $19 million and $8 million, respectively. Other notable colleges on the top donor list include George Washington University, the University of Southern California, and the University of California, Los Angeles.

Among the colleges represented on DonorWatch’s list of wealthiest college graduates, only 9 colleges have 3 or more alums on the list. The top three institutions include Harvard College with 10 alums, Yale University with 7 alums and Princeton University with 7 alums. The wealthiest Princeton alum, Jeff Bezos of (AMZN), is also the largest seller since March 31st. Through a series of planned sales from May 3rd through the 5th, Mr. Bezos sold 2,000,000 shares of AMZN, totaling over $267 million in cash.

New York University, University of Minnesota, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California Berkeley, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and the University of Pennsylvania round out the top donor list with 3 alums each.

J3 Donor Watch provides fundraising and development professionals at leading colleges and universities with a unique tool to manage their relationships with top and high potential donors. DonorWatch monitors the stock holdings of top donors and alums by using SEC filings and provides its users with best-in-class analyses, filters and alerts, empowering fundraisers to focus on the big picture. For more information about Donor Watch, please visit its product page.

*The Donor Watch list was compiled using publically available information from SEC insider filings. As of 5/21/2010, all individuals on the list had at least $150 million in equities according to SEC filings. The list of wealthiest college graduates excludes graduates of foreign institutions as well as alums that attended a college but never graduated. The Top Donor list also excludes individuals whose public holdings from SEC filings are tied to individual or family trusts, as well as individuals whose investments are part of the portfolios of the hedge fund, private equity firm or other investment institution that they manage. All equities were valued using closing prices as of 5/21/2010.


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