Assets of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Seattle, fell 7% to $27.5 billion as of April 1 from year-end 2008, according to the foundation's website.
The drop comes on top of a 20% plunge in endowment assets in 2008, which executives attributed in its annual report to the general economic decline.
“This has been a very hard year for foundations and non-profits — and the near future doesn't look any easier,” foundation CEO Jeff Raikes said in the annual report. “We've heard from our colleagues at many foundations, and we're all digging deeper into our pockets and coming out with less money. Our endowments are down, so even if we draw a higher percentage than we did last year, we don't have as much to give away.”
The foundation distributed $2.8 billion in grants during 2008.