The Goldman Sachs Foundation’s torrid 2008

By Felix Salmon
November 12, 2009
here it is, all 297 pages of it.

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Goldman Sachs has provided Reuters with a copy of the Goldman Sachs Foundation’s 2008 tax return. Why the NYT didn’t just put it online I have no idea, but in any case here it is, all 297 pages of it.

The bottom line is that the Goldman Sachs Foundation did very badly in 2008. Here’s the way it’s all summed up:

part3.tiff

The fund started the year with $269 million in assets, and ended with $161 million. The amount it made in charitable disbursements was $22 million (that’s the last number on line 25 of the first page), which means that the charitable disbursements aside, the fund managed to drop by $85 million. That’s 32% of the amount it started the year with, and almost four times the amount of money it actually gave to charity.

The big losses are a capital loss of $15 million on the sale of assets, and a whopping $75 million unrealized loss on investments. And then, just for good measure, we find out on page 68 of the PDF that the foundation paid Goldman Sachs Asset Management $3,864,540 for “investment management”. Gee, thanks for the service, guys.

If the Goldman Sachs Foundation put all its money in cash, earning 0%, and wrote checks over the course of the year totalling $100 million, it would have done better than this. Instead, it managed to give away less than a quarter of that, to recipients like the Foundation for Teaching Economics ($333,333) and $2,550,000 to the Institute of International Education “to support the expansion and enhancement of the Goldman Sachs Global Leaders Program in building a strong platform for the Program’s 10th anniversary activities in 2010.”

The Goldman Sachs Foundation also spent $230,000 on various Davos-related donations, in the form of gifts to the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship and the World Economic Forum itself.

Maybe that’s what Lloyd Blankfein had in mind when he talked about doing God’s work.

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