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Support STC: Founders Circle Endowment

Support STC: Endowment


The Investment Committee and Board of Directors has adopted the following general policies to guide the management of STC's Founders Circle Endowment and related investments:

Long-term Investment Horizon Key investment objectives are to (1) protect in perpetuity the purchasing power of endowment principal; (2) achieve superior long-term investments through a diversified portfolio; (3) ensure a predictable and inflation-adjusted level of spending for programs and activities; and (4) build substantial endowment assets over time

Total Return Approach to Investment Investment approach is to be total return, which includes both (1) investment income – dividends from equities, fixed income coupons, interest and the like – and (2) realized and unrealized appreciation. A portion of the total return will be made available to support programs and activities, as determined by the Spending Rule (as discussed below), with the balance to be reinvested in principal. The target longer-term average annual total rate of return is between [8]% and [9]% – the sum of a projected longer-term annual rate of inflation of [3]% and the target spending rule of [5]%.

Spending Rule Target of [5]% of the average endowment market value of the prior twelve quarters, adjusted, as appropriate, to provide current income while protecting endowment principal against inflation over the longer-term.

Asset Allocation Target of being fully invested, with (1) a range in equities of [65]% to [75]% and a range in fixed income of [25]% to [35]%, (2) broad market diversification and (3) flexible reallocation to reflect varying market conditions.

Review of Investment Philosophy and Investment Performance The Investment Committee will review the Statement of Investment Philosophy at least annually and will review investment performance at least quarterly. Full analytic reports on investment performance, together with any significant shifts in asset allocation will be promptly reported to the full Board.

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The Sea Turtle Conservancy (STC), formally known as the Caribbean Conservation Corporation, formed in 1959 to support the pioneering work of Dr. Archie Carr, is the world's oldest and most accomplished sea turtle research and conservation group.

STC's research programs over the past 42 years have yielded much of what is now known about sea turtle biology and the important ecological roles filled by these ancient animals.

STC's domestic and international conservation programs have directly prevented the collapse of numerous sea turtle populations—and are leading to the recovery of the most important turtle rookeries in the Western Hemisphere.

Public awareness efforts begun by Dr. Carr in the 1950s—and carried on today by his successors at STC—have spawned international appreciation for sea turtles that has grown into a worldwide movement toward their protection.

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It is estimated that sea turtle populations have diminished to just six percent of their levels one hundred years ago. STC's goal is to restore sea turtle populations so that they continue to fulfill their ecological roles. To do that, STC needs the long-term resources of an endowment to support our scientific discovery and conservation programs.

Our goals depend on the ability of STC's well trained and equipped scientists to be in the field year after year, and to do this they must be able to depend on the continuation of the STC's core operations. The endowment will allow STC to consistently carry out the programs it does best.

The endowment will sustain STC's nesting beach monitoring and protection program at Tortuguero, Costa Rica, as well as ongoing research and conservation programs at important development habitats in Bermuda and Florida, which offer the best chance for long-term survival of green turtles in the Wider Caribbean. When the STC began its operations forty years ago, the Atlantic green turtle was headed toward extinction.

The endowment will allow for the continuation of the STC's core programs, without which the gains in the sea turtle population that have been achieved over the past four decades could be wiped out in a few short years.

The STC's core programs would be perpetually maintained with an endowment that provides at least $250,000 in operating funds each year.

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Sea turtles were once so numerous in the Caribbean that early voyagers to the New World described them as traveling in huge "fleets." Green turtles were particularly abundant, numbering in the tens of millions.

As a result of over-hunting, habitat destruction and other human activities, the green turtle population is now a mere fraction of its once robust size (many experts estimate the current population to be just 6 percent of what it had been). In addition to green turtles, all other sea turtle species are threatened with extinction as a result of human activities.

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Scientists are just beginning to understand the important ecological roles sea turtles play in various marine and coastal ecosystems.

Where large numbers of plant-eating green turtles graze on seagrass and algae, commercially important species such as shrimp, lobster, fish, and sharks thrive because the sea bottom habitat is more healthy and productive.

By depositing their eggs on the shore, sea turtles transport vital nutrients from the ocean to nutrient-poor coastal and inshore habitats. In fact, sea turtles are the only marine species that regularly transfer nutrients to the upland coastal habitat.

Hawksbill turtles, which feed on sponges and corals, are believed to play a major role in maintaining the health and diversity of coral reef systems.

In the Pacific, the collapse of leatherback turtle populations is partly responsible for an explosion in jellyfish populations (their main diet), which in turn has negatively affected commercial fishing.

In short, sea turtles are increasingly being recognized as an important strand in the web of ocean life—sea turtles help to sustain the biological diversity of the oceans, and biological diversity in the oceans helps sustain the Earth.

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Costa Rica: STC operates a Biological Field Station at Tortuguero, Costa Rica—nesting site of the largest remaining population of endangered green turtles in the Western Hemisphere. STC's annual turtle nesting studies and protection efforts at Tortuguero constitute the longest continuous program of its kind in the world. Through this four-decade-long conservation initiative, STC has reversed the decline of green turtles in the Caribbean.

Bermuda: Since the early 1960's, STC has carried out annual in-water studies of juvenile green turtles in Bermuda. These studies, founded and supported by Dr. H. Clay Frick and his family, are now the longest continuous in-water studies of sea turtles in the world. This research and education program is safeguarding a diverse population of sub-adult turtles that matures in Bermuda and returns to seed nesting beaches throughout the Western Hemisphere.

United States: Florida's beaches support 90% of all the sea turtle nesting in North America. STC is the leading organization working with local, state and federal agencies to protect important nesting beaches in the U.S., such as the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge which was recently established by Congress on the East coast of Florida in honor of STC's founding director.

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A recent analysis of STC's long-term sea turtle nesting studies in Tortuguero shows the population has stopped its decline and is actually beginning to grow in numbers, thanks to the sustained conservation efforts of STC. Similar trends have been documented where STC is working in Florida.

STC's education, research, and conservation initiatives, one of which was the establishment of Tortuguero National Park in Costa Rica, have been credited by many with saving the Caribbean green turtle from immediate extinction. Research conducted and supported by STC has shown that Florida's beaches are globally significant for nesting green turtles, loggerheads and leatherbacks. STC led a successful initiative in 1990 to have Congress designate one of Florida's most important nesting beaches as the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. Named after STC's founding Scientific Director, this refuge remains the only federally protected sea turtle refuge in the U.S.

A STC delegation sent to the 2000 Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Nairobi, Kenya, was successful in blocking the reopening of international trade in the shells of critically endangered hawksbill sea turtles (also known as "tortoise shell").

STC was instrumental in the signing of an international sea turtle agreement in Central America that, in addition to protecting turtles, is serving as a model in the coordinated protection of animals that regularly cross international boundaries.

STC's Internet-based Sea Turtle Migration-Tracking Education Program has reached over one million children and adults, and it has been featured on CNN, the Discovery Network, Animal Planet and the National Geographic Channel.

In Florida, STC spearheaded the establishment of a sea turtle specialty automobile license plate, which is now providing 100% of the annual budget for the State of Florida's Marine Turtle Protection Program. The license plate revenues also support a grants program that funds sea turtles education and research projects throughout Florida.

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Sea Turtle Conservancy
4424 NW 13th St, Suite B-11
Gainesville, FL 32609
Phone: 352-373-6441
Fax: 352-375-2449
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