ANCHORAGE -- The Alaska Science and Technology Foundation is cutting its operating budget and deferring approval of new grants, due to a drop in earnings from its endowment.
The agency said earnings from its $100.2 million endowment dropped to $5.2 million in the fiscal year ended June 30. That's about half what it earned in the previous year.
The current fiscal year is looking even more grim.
"We've only earned $762,000 for the first three months of this year. That's at a rate of $3 million a year," said Jamie Kenworthy, executive director of the foundation.
In recent years, the Legislature has appropriated $3.2 million annually from the foundation's earnings to the University of Alaska and the Alaska Aerospace Development Corp.
If the current earnings slump holds up, the foundation won't make enough money to cover those appropriations, Kenworthy said. The foundation wants the Legislature to stop giving foundation funds to the university and the aerospace corporation.
"Our board's taken the position that we need full access to our earnings in order to continue our economic development function," Kenworthy said.
Chairman Ron Duncan said the foundation needs to take immediate steps to adjust its spending to match its income.
Starting Dec. 1, the foundation will issue checks monthly to the university and the aerospace corporation. The amount will represent a share of the income as it becomes available to the foundation.
If the foundation's earnings don't pick up soon, the agency may need to seek a supplemental appropriation for the university and aerospace corporation.