Protect The Forest


Protect The Forest

Good for Drew, Good for the Community

In recent years, Drew University, like many higher education institutions, has faced unprecedented challenges. We’ve weathered a global pandemic, a national decline in college-aged students, a precipitous drop in state aid, and other factors that have taken their financial toll on the University and its endowment over the past decade, which directly impacts our ability to provide financial aid and academic opportunities to deserving students into the future.

Over the past several years, Drew has made tremendous progress to address the budgetary impact of these challenges, and in fact has achieved a near-balanced budget. These efforts will keep the University afloat. But to truly thrive and plan into the future, we must address the University’s endowment.

Prior to this progress, for a number of years, Drew (like many small higher ed institutions) had unbalanced budgets and had to rely on the endowment to cover those, thus reducing the value of the endowment to an unsustainable level. To improve the financial health of our endowment and safeguard Drew’s legacy for students, alumni, employees, and the community, the Board of Trustees several years ago began exploring all available options to find a solution to “make the endowment whole” while we simultaneously brought the University to a balanced annual operating budget. The most promising option we are currently pursuing addresses our financial needs while ensuring the long-term preservation of The Forest through a two-pronged sale of campus lands.

  1. The Forest (also known as the Drew Forest Preserve): Drew is seeking a buyer for the part of “Parcel A” that represents the Drew Forest Preserve who is committed to permanently conserving and maintaining this natural treasure for future generations.
  2. Rental apartment housing close to Madison Avenue: “Parcel B” and “Parcel C”, two small areas close to Madison Avenue comprising seven percent of campus property, would be sold for development of rental apartments, of which 20 percent would be for affordable housing in accordance with state law. Drew would need Madison to rezone these parcels for development in order for Drew to receive a market-value offer.

Drew University deeply values its historic roots and close community ties with Madison, which go back 154 years. The Forest is essential to both Drew and the people of Madison. The Forest is one of Drew’s principal assets that we can leverage for our financial security, and an investment from outside resources is needed to make this a reality. Working together with the Borough of Madison toward a market value conservation deal can meet Drew’s long-term needs and protect The Forest’s future forever.

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