A Checklist for Foundation Investors

By Lauren Kotkin, Exponent Philanthropy

Lauren KotkinPeople do not necessarily come to philanthropic work from the financial sector. In fact, many of our foundation members are more at home with words like giving strategy and grant guidelines than fixed income or debt investments. 

How can you ensure you are stewarding all your foundation’s assets? Here are seven pointers for investors of all experience levels.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the answers to common questions.
  2. Confirm who is responsible for investment oversight and management at your foundation, and whether your investment professionals are also serving as fiduciaries.
  3. Read your foundation’s investment policy statement, and plan a regular review with your foundation’s investment team. If you don’t have an IPS, don’t have an adequate IPS, or don’t understand your IPS, find a professional who can help you.
  4. Consider how market changes affect your portfolio.
  5. Start a conversation on impact investing at your foundation. Do some research, and meet with those in the space who are already on this path.
  6. Look in the mirror for the subjective biases that may be harming your investment returns, and consider those at play among your investment professionals as well.
  7. Be a mentor to others at your foundation or elsewhere in the field. Encourage others to take an interest in the foundation’s investments. Offer to discuss your latest returns, and be on hand to answer questions.

See Exponent Philanthropy’s additional resources on investing

Related posts

Debunking 4 Myths About Hedge Funds

Program Related Investments: A Fit for Your Foundation?

The Future of Investing

Senior Program Director Lauren Kotkin plans a range of educational programs for the Exponent Philanthropy community, including conferences, webinars, and conference calls. She also dedicates a portion of her time to managing our resources on investments. Previously, she worked at the Council on Foundations in the Family Foundation Services department. Lauren holds an undergraduate degree from Duke University and an M.Ed. from Lesley University, with a focus on using arts in education.

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