THE ASANOR ENDOWMENT FUND 2004 REPORT
"If you advance confidently in the direction of your dreams and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."
Henry David Thoreau
“We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give” Winston Churchill
“I make more money than Calvin Coolidge – put together ” Lina Lamont in Singin’ in the Rain
The figures shown are correct as of Sept. 1, 2004
Conversion rate: One U.S. dollar equals NOK 6.8
HIGHLIGHTS (quite high again, really)
In the twelve months since the Fund’s last fiscal year report, the Fund’s assets have increased from kr. 513,808 to kr.714,399, an increase of kr. 39%. This follows a 31% increase in our previous fiscal year. Two years ago, the Fund’s assets were kr. 391,785, so we have achieved an increase of 82% in 24 months.
To the best of our knowledge, the ASANOR Endowment Fund assets far surpass all similar European American Studies funds (as Lina Lamont said) put together. Within NAAS, ASANOR has created the only endowment fund.
In the seven years that the Fund has awarded grants, 61 applications for kr. 86,023 were approved and paid through 2004.
Grants awarded exceed by many thousand kroner the total amount contributed by ASANOR members to the Sigmund Skard Fund.
The Fine Print: These gains include the Fund’s decision in February 2004 to value dollar assets at the current exchange rate instead of the traditional kr.7.8 to a dollar which has been used for several years. This devaluation has reduced the Fund’s assets (on paper). The implications are (1) that the Fund’s real return was even greater than stated above; (2) that there is potential for the Fund’s assets to increase (on paper, but perhaps not in real terms) when the dollar rises.
The recently concluded U.S. political conventions remind us of FDR’s 1932 theme song:
Happy Days are here again
The skies above are clear again.
So let’s sing a song of cheer again
Happy days are here again.
These lyrics perfectly suit our Fund’s recent experience. During the drastic market decline of the first few years of this century, the Fund retained its value and was well positioned to capitalize on the upswing. In addition, in the last 12 months, two new personal funds were initiated under the Endowment Fund investment umbrella:
(1) In October, 2003, the Dorothy Burton Skårdal Fund for the Study of Immigration and Ethnicity set a goal of kr. 50,000 to be reached in one year. Today the tribute to Dorothy stands at kr. 51,103. The Fund once again thanks every contributor, and continues to welcome new donations. No one deserves this recognition more.
(2) The Kristoffer Dannevig Fund stands at kr. 32,000. Since he is donating all his U.S. social security payments, a fresh kr. 1,400 arrives every month. Because that sum is officially mandated to correspond with the current exchange rate, future returns might be even greater in kroner terms.. Kris, your fellow members of ASANOR thank you with enduring gratitude.
THE TOP LINE
The Fund can hum more than one melody. We love “The skies above are clear again” but we also remember:
Don’t know why, there’s no sun up in the sky
And so the Fund strategy continues to be a bit defensive. In equities (through mutual funds) we hold kr. 288,000 in U.S. dollars (40%) plus kr. 59,000 for a total of kr. 347,000 or 48% of our assets, 12% less than the 60% maximum. In cash and bonds our assets total kr. 367,000 or 52%, 12% more than the minimum we must own.
The Fund has made three significant investments in this fiscal year, each adding to holdings that have already been successful. In March, $10,000 was added to Vanguard’s 500 Index fund, our theory being that it is better to invest in the haystack rather than trying to find the needle. $10,000 was added to a rather defensive but most rewarding holding, Vanguard Health. These are our largest equity holdings, and total kr. 110,000 and kr. 160,000 respectively. Together they represent just a bit more than the kr. 249,000 we hold in Norwegian money market accounts. In March, an additional kr. 15,000 was added to Nordea Asia, which until then has yielded a 46% gain in our first eight months aboard . ASANOR’s enthusiasm prompted Beijing to increase its interest rate to dampen inflation, resulting in a 16% loss for this top-up, dragging down our total profit in the holding to 11%. A $10,000 investment in a new equity fund is being prepared and will be introduced in our March 2004 report, and announced in timely fashion on this site.
And we haven't mentioned this for a few years: Fund-raising expenses: zero, as always. Every contributed dollar and krone goes to work for ASANOR without dilution, and works for us every day, always, 100%.
A reminder especially for NAAS/EAAS members outside Norway: If you order though Amazon, kindly help the Fund grow by entering their website through our home page.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Read this for the first of many times, since it will take some years to accomplish: The ASANOR Endowment Fund will reach one million kroner. Obviously this is nearly a Sisyphean effort, since the greater our assets, the more we can award, but did you ever really believe the Fund would have raised kr. 800,000 (including grants and current assets)? Be prepared for stormy weather ahead, since it is impossible to come close to duplicating the results of the past two years, but also be ready for that time we can sing together:
Altogether shout it now!
There's no one who can doubt it now
So let's tell the world about it now
ASANOR has reached a mil!
On behalf of the ASANOR Endowment Fund’s Board,