Princeton University’s endowment returned 46.9% and rose to $37.7 billion in the latest fiscal year, driven by a surge in its private equity portfolio.

The results announced Friday are second-highest among the eight-member Ivy League for the fiscal year ended in June, trailing only Brown University’s 52% advance. Dartmouth College was No. 3, posting a 46.5% gain, while Columbia University brought up the rear with a return of 32%.

Princeton University Investment Co. President Andrew Golden, who runs the endowment, said five venture capital-backed companies contributed 8 percentage points of the gain. The decision to make those investments happened a decade ago, on average, Golden said in an interview, declining to identify the firms in which the fund owns stakes.

“The endowment’s mission is forever,” Golden said. “We take an approach that doesn’t really focus on how were going to do in a year.”

The venture capital returns were in the triple digits, and about half of the gains were realized, meaning the endowment liquidated its holdings. Private equity returned 99% and accounted for 42% of assets on June 30, he said.

Earnings are important to the operation of the New Jersey school, as endowment distributions cover about two-thirds of Princeton’s annual operating revenue, up from 33% in 1997. In fiscal 2021, distributions totaled $1.5 billion.

The endowment has returned 12.7% a year on average over the past decade, according to a statement.

This article was provided by Bloomberg News.