Investment & Spending Policies

The intricacies of spending policies, investing decisions, asset allocation can be overwhelming. As a philanthropic executive or board member, however, it is critical for you to remain engaged in the investment management process. The Council can help with these efforts by offering a wide range of investment and spending policy resources to help your foundation follow sound governance procedures.

In-Depth knowledge on Investment & Spending Policies

This chapter of Mastering Foundation Law examines Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act (UPMIFA) and other laws that govern the management and investment of endowments and other foundation financial assets. It also includes a discussion of the board’s role and the use of outside advisors.

The 2016 Administrative and Program Expense Tables provide foundations with tools to benchmark their expenses – charitable administrative, program service, and qualifying distributions – against peers in the field. Containing data collected through the Council’s 2016 Grantmaker Salary and Benefits Survey, this report offers detailed breakdowns of the data by grantmaker type, staff size, geographic location, and asset group (note – this report does not examine fees associated with fund administration at community foundations).

The Council on Foundations-Commonfund Study of Responsible Investing, believed to be the largest of its kind, provides foundations with invaluable insights into how the sector and individual portfolios are being shaped by responsible investing practices, potential hurdles to their adoption, and what the entry points are for those interested in fully engaging these practices in their endowment strategies.

Investors are facing one of the worst starts to a calendar year on record. Volatility in China, rising interest rates in the US, and falling oil prices have all contributed to the markets’ unease. The ongoing correction has seen stock prices tumble more than 10% from their most recent peak, and many are wondering if 2016 will have more drops in store. At the same time, many experts believe that the American economy remains fundamentally strong and that recent turbulence could pass.

The Council's Board of Directors released this guidance memorandum in March 2010 and strongly recommends that when reviewing and approving foundation investment policies and procedures practices, all foundations—private and public—consider these best practices in foundation investment management.