Money Matters 2A

The SALALM Endowment and Endow Our Future
Like nearly all non-profit organizations nowadays, SALALM made the prudent decision years ago to begin saving and investing as financial circumstances allowed in order to continue the organization’s work during times of financial difficulties. Building an endowment strictly from members’ annual donations and bequests is a slow process, but as our history indicates, a steady one. Through the generosity of many of you, as well as past members no longer with us, the value of SALALM’s work is reconfirmed in a tangible way. Taken more broadly, these donations represent belief in our leadership, our mission, and our community of Latin American specialists. As such, the Finance Committee members have dedicated much thought to investing prudently for our future. At the June 2012 Executive Board meeting, approval was granted for the Finance Committee’s recommendation to retain the services of professional management with TIAA-CREF. Many of you have your pensions with them so should be familiar with this non-profit organization specializing in serving the needs of educational institutions. With a balance of nearly $800,000, TIAA-CREF management should ensure our funds for sustaining SALALM into the future through expertise and responsiveness to market conditions.
One of the guiding principles of endowment management is not to dip into principal for operating or capital expenses. As nearly all of our income comes from donations and membership fees, and our expenses of operating the Secretariat and producing publications are fairly constant, planning should be straightforward. When it is not, then we have had to utilize endowed funds. In recent years, these measures have been related to shortfalls of income from membership renewals. Because our investments generate dividends and capital gains, all untaxed with the exception of foreign tax payments required by the IRS, we have been able to utilize these streams of income when necessary, and often are able to reinvest them to grow the endowment. As the new management plots our income needs and matches them with returns from investments, we’ll have a clearer idea whether we can continue as we have, or if taking out 3 or 4 percent annually becomes practical to assist in the underwriting of new ventures and initiatives.
SALALM continually evolves, reflecting the changing circumstances of research, publication, distribution, and technology. But regardless of such changes, we must be capable of replicating ourselves as subject specialists, whether via full-time or part-time employment in different work environments. Toward meeting this objective, we now offer four SALALM Scholarships ($1000 each) for those studying in MA-level programs for archives or information science, and who have a strong dedication and interest in Latin America with focus on academic or research library employment. We also are devising a variety of measures to make SALALM student membership more attractive, including a mentorship program. As always, your suggestions and participation are essential to keep SALALM relevant to the rising generation of specialists.
For those of us who joined SALALM in the 1960s – 1980s, the benefits of membership and fellowship are evident in our careers. Please consider whether you would like to further strengthen the organization for the future with a bequest from your estate to Endow Our Future or other work of SALALM. As a non-profit charity, such bequests are treated by the Federal estate tax as qualifying to reduce the size of the estate. Should you have any questions, please contact me at
In sum, these are our measures to strengthen today’s SALALM and contribute to its ability to serve future Latin Americanists. As always, your suggestions are welcome. Please consider joining the Finance Committee when you designate your committee choices with membership renewal. If you have not renewed your membership, I urge you to do so today.

Peter T. Johnson, Treasurer
December 12, 2012