The idea to form PRRC emerged from consulting work done on behalf of alumni groups and faculty unions at several “elite" institutions (over $1 billion in endowment assets) during the corona pandemic. Various austerity moves were being imposed, often targeting the most vulnerable employees during what was (and remains) an incredibly challenging time, often despite evidently large endowment assets. Our clients wanted to find better ways forward, and to protect their fellow community members. We wanted to help them better understand the financial situation of their institutions.
We offer our clients a range of research reports on endowments and valuation, debt and/or investment history, divestment, credit ratings, budgetary models/consequences, management and institutional priorities, and more, all tailored to their institutional situation and needs. We also offer context- and issue-specific consultations and presentations.
Often, there is no “smoking gun" pointing to clear evidence of mismanagement, underhanded dealings, or even possibly illegal actions. These things do all happen, and they can indeed be uncovered. A far more common source of institutional trouble, however, is simply the current financialized status quo which (to the extent it is not well understood) functions as a potent tool of power because it is premised on lack of transparency. This lack of transparency lies at the root of two basic challenges: one, a default reliance on increasingly autocratic managerial styles, since information about finances has become increasingly siloed and specialized; two, difficulty finding alternatives to the default imposition of austerity, since disclosures that could reveal things like endowment kickbacks, political influences, outsourcing costs, particular investment vehicles and related conflicts of interest, for-profit takeovers of publicly-funded research, and actual investment fees and rates of return are not currently in place. Consequently, private and for-profit moneyed interests are given considerable latitude to capture a substantial portion of a public and ostensibly non-profit good.