"If we go back to the study for FY2007¬ before the losses of FY2008 ¬trailing returns for three- and five-year periods were 9% and 11.1%, respectively. Returns at levels such as these are essential for the long-term health of the nonprofit healthcare community," Griswold said.
For the fifth consecutive year, participating nonprofit healthcare organizations reported higher average debt levels in 2009. Overall, debt rose to an average of $903 million from $681 million in FY08. The largest increase in dollars came from organizations with assets of more than $1 billion, where debt increased to an average of $2.6 billion from $2.2 billion a year ago. Forty-five percent of responding organizations confirmed that they had increased debt in FY09.
At the same time, 41% reported decreasing debt in FY09. Only 14% said they made no change in debt levels this year. When compared to other areas of the nonprofit sector, nonprofit healthcare organizations realized lower returns.
In addition, 173 independent and community foundations in the Commonfund study posted an average return of 20.9% for FY2009, and 66 charities in the study saw an average return of 21.5%.