Four Stars for Puget Sound— Charity Navigator Says, “Go to the Front of the Class”

December 14, 2011


The top rating testifies to responsible financial management and good governance


TACOMA, Wash. – University of Puget Sound is one of just seven U.S. private liberal arts colleges to be awarded four stars—the top rating—by an independent organization that scrutinizes nonprofits for their good governance and fiscal responsibility.

Charity Navigator, described as “the first and best stop for would-be donors” by Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine, assessed more than 60 private liberal arts colleges around the country. The group regularly evaluates more than 5,000 charities and nonprofit institutions to help donors choose responsible and efficient organizations when they make gifts.

The four-star rating follows the affirmation of University of Puget Sound’s long-term A+ credit rating by Standard & Poor’s this summer. Sherry Mondou, vice president for finance and administration, commented at the time:

“We have worked hard to minimize tuition increases and provide financial support for students during this challenging economic period, while continuing to enhance efficiency and effectiveness in all that we do. This has enabled us to dedicate the necessary resources for ongoing delivery of an exceptional residential liberal arts experience that ensures our students’ future success.”

Charity Navigator is America’s largest and most influential charity rater, serving more than three million unique visitors and impacting an estimated $10 billion of charitable donations each year. Nonprofits and charities are judged on the effectiveness of their day-to-day operations in pursuing their missions, their ability to sustain programs over time, and their application of best practices, such as accountability and transparency.

“As the nonprofit sector continues to grow at an unprecedented pace, savvy donors are demanding more accountability, transparency, and quantifiable results from the charities they choose to support with their hard-earned dollars," said Ken Berger, president and chief executive officer of Charity Navigator.

Individual evaluations are based in part on an analysis of the nonprofit’s IRS Form 990, a public document required by the Internal Revenue Service from certain tax-exempt organizations. Financial efficiency and capacity are assessed, and then the nonprofit’s performance is compared to that of peer institutions. In addition analysts study the group’s website to see if a donor can readily find information about its finances, leadership, and donor privacy policy.

Other U.S. liberal arts colleges that received four stars in the Charity Navigator evaluation are Carleton College (Minn.), Davidson College (N.C.), Lafayette College (Pa.), Oberlin College (Ohio), St. Olaf College (Pa.), and Smith College (Mass.).

For a full list of private liberal arts college ratings: www.charitynavigator.org/index.cfm?bay=search.results&cgid=3&cuid=33&sortby=rtg
For more about Charity Navigator: charitynavigator.org

To read about One [of a Kind] The Campaign for University of Puget Sound visit: www.pugetsound.edu/one

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