NAS by the Numbers

Numbers are in the air we breathe, even thicker than the Omicron variant it seems. Though it’s become passé to mention the COVID case count (53,000 last week, for anyone who’s still interested), one can instead cite 1.4 million (Ukrainian refugees), over 14 million (illegal aliens residing in the United States), 7.5% (US annual inflation), $7 (the price of gas in California), $30 trillion (the US national debt), or 125% (US federal debt to GDP).

And that’s just as of March 7.

Here at NAS we pride ourselves on quality rather than quantity. Though we have published many more investigations recently than ever before, it is insight, thoughtfulness, and thoroughness that we strive for in such projects as Shifting Sands: Unsound Science and Unsafe Regulation, Skewed History: Textbook Coverage of Early America and the New Deal, Priced Out (on student loan debt and college finances), or our ongoing inquiries into Chinese Communist Party infiltration of higher education through Confucius Institutes and other fronts.

But we have numbers too, and when the news is so often bad, there may be some benefit in sharing good results.

For example, 2021 marked the twelfth straight year in a row that NAS has maintained a balanced operating budget, spending $1.9 million compared to revenue of $2.1 million. Though “in the long run, we’re all dead,” Keynesian deficit spending has no place in our long-run plans to save Western Civilization.

Likewise, thanks to solid fundraising and diversified investments, NAS’s endowment grew 31% in 2021, from $3.7 to $4.9 million. Even more strikingly, at the end of 2017 the endowment stood at $908,000, one-fifth its current size, a grow rate of 434% in four years. We proudly continue the tradition of investment success founded by Thales, the first speculator.

Money in the bank is good, but NAS’s real strength is human capital, in the form of its members. Here too the returns have been impressive, as membership grew by almost 10% in 2021, ending the year with 4,036 members.

Besides being the source of ideas, articles, connections, and initiatives, NAS’s members are also its greatest financial supporters, a support that continues to grow. From 2020 to 2021, the average gift to NAS grew by 51%, the number of major gifts increased by 31%, and the number of major donors grew by 134%. While the average major gift to NAS in 2020 was $1,473, last year saw an average major gift size of $2,486. Not bad for the end of the world.

(This would be the place to remind the gentle reader that, if you too wish to join the swelling ranks of NAS’s major givers, you need only click here.)

There are many more numbers I could cite regarding NAS’s flourishing: the increased number of staff (now above 20 souls), the growing number of projects, and a blizzard of clicks falling upon www.nas.org and www.mindingthecampus.org. But better to avoid Nemesis’ baleful eye, and, returning to the poetic “numbers” more congenial to NAS, laying aside the daily ledgers, observe instead

Celestial recurrences,
The day the flowers come,
And when the birds go.


Image: Nick Hillier, Public Domain

Keith Whitaker

Keith Whitaker, Ph.D., is a Founding Associate at Wise Counsel Research Associates. He also serves as Chair of the Board of the National Association of Scholars.

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