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Apfel quoted on UPenn endowment and the Paradise Papers


Croatan Institute Senior Associate Dan Apfel was quoted this month in an article in the Daily Pennsylvanian, discussing university endowments and "The Paradise Papers," a recent leak of over 13 million documents about offshore tax havens released by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists. The Paradise Papers included information about the investments of over 100 universities, including the University of Pennsylvania.

Apfel provided perspective on the widespread use by Penn and other elite colleges of so-called "blocker corporations" as endowment investment vehicles. "Universities have started acting more like Wall Street investors," he noted. Domiciled in offshore tax havens such as the Cayman Islands, these opaque investment pools facilitate the avoidance of unrelated business income taxes that nonprofit colleges might otherwise be expected to pay for income generated through investments that are unrelated to their tax-exempt mission.

"If universities are avoiding taxes and are already given a tax exemption, then they’re setting a bad example for the rest of society," Apfel told the Daily Pennsylvanian.

Prior to joining the Institute, Apfel was executive director of the Responsible Endowments Coalition. He regularly speaks on university endowment investments. Please contact Dan Apfel for more information

To learn more about the Institute's work in this area, see our program page on Institutional Accountability.