Donations to charities and other nonprofit institutions that fund medical research could be at risk due to the economic crisis. According to the Center on Philanthropy at the University of Indiana, the level of donations made to charities correlates with the fortunes of the stock markets, but any effects from the current crisis would not impact organizations until spring. Even then, organizations with endowments are less likely to be affected. However, the Wellcome Trust’s endowment has fallen 5%–10% to $23 billion this year, and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s endowment has declined approximately 5% as of July 31. The Wellcome Trust’s endowment funds only a small portion of its research so any change is unlikely to affect spending. But other research organizations that rely on annual giving may be hurt as corporations and investors cut back on giving. Lehman Brothers, which was responsible for approximately $7 million in biomedical research donations last year, declared bankruptcy in September. Source: Nature

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