My understanding is that non-profits have been engaging in both a tax arbitrage strategy,

and also taking risk.  It looks like Bard was smarter-they  took less risk.  I am not sure about the rest of the article, though.

For Leon Botstein, Happy Days Are Here Again :: Inside Higher Ed :: Higher Education’s Source for News, Views and Jobs

What about Bard? After all, it’s easy to critique Harvard’s billions in
losses, but Bard has an endowment too. Prior to the economic collapse
this fall, Bard had a $150 million endowment for its undergraduate
programs, and a $100 million fund for graduate programs. The former
lost about 20 percent and the latter (on which investment strategy is
restricted) lost about 4 percent. While those percentage losses are
considerably smaller than those at Harvard and elsewhere in the Ivies,
Botstein said “the reason is not that we’re smarter.” Where Bard is
smarter, he said, is viewing the endowment “as a cash reserve against
bad times, not an offset for operating expenses.”

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