Letter from the President - 23 February 2009
Dear BWF Community,
After careful consideration by the Board of Directors and the staff of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, we have decided to suspend our usual slate of competitive grant programs for fiscal year 2010, which begins in the fall of 2009. We will not be accepting applications for any of our programs except for our two newest: the Preterm Birth Initiative and the Career Awards for Science and Mathematics Teachers in North Carolina.
The current economic situation and the adverse effect it has had on our endowment have led us to make this decision. Last November, we sent notices to our faculty awardees alerting them that, although we will pay the full amount of their grants, we would do so over an extended payout period. This action has allowed us to help preserve our assets during these difficult times, enabling us better to be in a position to make new awards when the economy improves.
This year the Board and the staff will focus on our five-year strategic planning process, or what we call terrain mapping. At our last Board meeting, as part of the mapping process, representatives of our advisory committees met with the Board to discuss future directions for their respective programs.
I regret that we will be unable to run a full schedule of grant activities this upcoming year, but it is of utmost importance that we fulfill our existing grant obligations and preserve enough of our assets for future awards. I do look forward to a better financial time in which we will return to funding a full complement of grants in existing and new areas that arise from our terrain mapping review.
Please consult our website for program updates.
John E. Burris
Burroughs Wellcome Fund