Thoughtful stewardship of your philanthropic dollars

Investment Options

At the Community Foundation, we know that you are entrusting us with your philanthropic funds. We take pride in managing your dollars according to best practices. To that end, we hold ourselves to rigorous standards in order to mitigate risk and identify opportunities. Our internal experts collaborate with Colonial Consulting, LLC, and are guided by a volunteer investment committee that bring a wealth of knowledge to our investment strategies and process.

As a philanthropist, you may request that your fund be invested according to one of four diverse investment options to meet your grantmaking and time objectives:

The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta’s management of the Investment Pool (“Pool”) relies on a long-term investment strategy—one that’s diversified across a wide range of asset classes, including alternative assets such as private equity, hedge funds and absolute return strategies. After all, diversification is vital to managing risk and achieving the best possible returns.

The Pool consists of a wide array of institutional money managers, each selected for specific portfolio characteristic deemed important to building a well-diversified total portfolio with a likelihood of delivering long term returns that preserve the purchasing power of dollars invested in the Pool. The investment committee of the Community Foundation Board selects managers with the assistance of a neutral investment consultant.

For our pooled assets, we rely on the advice of an independent consultant, Colonial Consulting, LLC, to craft a long-term investment strategy and recommend expert asset managers that invest each component of the Foundation Pool’s asset allocation.

This option provides a diversified portfolio of American Funds mutual funds selected by the investment committee of the Community Foundation Board and purchased without commissions.
The conservative option is invested primarily in a money market fund and is considered appropriate for those wishing to protect principal and avoid market risk while earning money market rates of return.
The Community Foundation permits donors to recommend the investment advisor of their choice to manage the assets in their funds.
The GoATL Fund is designed to accelerate positive social outcomes in our community through impact investing, the concept that strategically invested capital can achieve both a positive social outcome and a financial return. This innovative fund will provide cost-effective capital to address our region’s most critical needs and represents Atlanta’s first ever impact fund that is open to investment by our philanthropic community.

For questions regarding investments, please contact:

Contact our donor gift planning director

Diana Champ Davis
Vice President, Capacity and Chief Financial Officer

Investment Update – March 20, 2020

We all are aware that we’re in the midst of a sharp market correction, driven in part by global fears over the long-term implications of the coronavirus along with an emerging price war amongst oil producers.  This sudden change in market behavior has significantly interfered with the high and growing levels of confidence some held with regard to future gains.

However, it is important to keep in mind the Foundation’s proven oversight process and a portfolio that is well-positioned to moderate against difficult conditions and to thrive once they pass. Patient, long-term investors pursuing an appropriately allocated and risk-aware strategy are not as susceptible to the potentially destructive natural emotions that accompany difficult times. That’s because we employ a well balanced approach with significant diversification informed by conservative valuation strategies.

Our investment strategy is designed to deliver long-term performance through diversification, contrarian thinking and a pursuit of investments that are attractively priced produces a portfolio that is more likely to provide mitigation against market losses while also delivering a high probability of generating returns that are commensurate with the risks involved.

As of March 19, 2020, the estimated return for the Pool is down 15.5%. Although no one likes negative returns, this return compares favorably to a 70% equity/30% fixed income portfolio which is down 16.1% for the month. We will have updated investment returns for Q1 by mid-April.

Please contact your philanthropic officer with questions or concerns.

Asset Allocation and Investment Performance

The Community Foundation’s investment philosophy for the Investment Pool and American Funds program focuses on long-term investments using diversified portfolios with a bias toward equities. We seek to:

  • Achieve investment returns that provide reasonable funding for donors’
    charitable distributions
  • Augment the value of the corpus at a rate greater than inflation, net of grant distributions and associated expenses

Results – December 31, 2019

Market Overview – Markets rallied in December, capping off a strong year for equities. Positive developments over the China trade war and greater clarity around Brexit helped fuel investors’ optimism. Across global equity markets, Emerging Markets (EM) posted the highest returns during the quarter with 11.8%. US Equities and International Equities returned 9.1% and 8.2%, respectively. For the year, US Equities outperformed global markets with the S&P 500 posting a return of 31.5%, while International Equities and EM returned 22.0% and 18.4%, respectively. In fixed income markets, lower quality credits rallied alongside equities, posting strong gains for the quarter and year. High yield gained 2.6% in Q4 and closed the year up 14.4%, while the Barclays Aggregate was flat for the quarter but finished the year up 8.7%.

Investment Pool – The Investment Pool (Pool) benefited from the strong equity market returning 7.5% for the quarter and 18.4% for the year. The majority of the Pool’s underperformance to the target benchmark in 2019 is attributed to the Private Equity (PE) portfolio. The PE portfolio target benchmark includes the S&P 500. Thus, PE returns relative to its benchmark were negatively impacted in the short term as a result of the S&P 500’s strong quarter. The Pool’s longer term relative performance continues to outperform its target benchmark. The Pool continues to benefit from its exposure to a diverse set of investments including hedge funds and private investments.

American Funds – The American Funds program benefited from the strong markets returning 7.0% for the quarter and 21.5% for the year. Short term performance versus the benchmark was negatively impacted by the program’s higher allocation to International Equities which did not perform as well as US Equities. The program’s longer-term relative performance continues to be strong, outperforming its benchmark in the 3, 5 and 10 year periods. The program invests in three American Funds: American Balanced Fund, EuroPacific Growth Fund, and Small Cap World Fund.

Conservative Fund – The Conservative Fund continues to provide returns in line with a fund constructed to preserve principal and maintain a high degree of liquidity. The fund returned 0.6% for the quarter and 2.3% for the year.

Summary – The Foundation offers a diverse set of investment options designed to meet the varied needs of our donor advisors. These options continue to produce results in line with their respective objectives.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: The performance information presented is being provided to donor advisors with an interest in the Foundation’s investment options. It is not intended to constitute an offering of any kind. The performance information is shown net of investment management fees and has not been audited.

Investment Returns Report – December 2019
Investment Returns Report – September 2019
Investment Returns Report – June 2019
Investment Returns Report – March 2019
Investment Returns Report – December 2018
Investment Returns Report – September 2018
Investment Returns Report – June 2018
Investment Returns Report – March 2018
Benchmark Information


The investment committee of the Community Foundation Board closely monitors the investment of our assets, as well as the managers who implement our investment strategies. As stewards of our assets, the Foundation’s investment committee holds the selected investment managers to the highest standards of ethical behavior and professional performance.

Committee members:

  • Russ Allen, Chief Investment Officer, Berman Capital Advisors
  • Thomas J. Asher, President, The Rich Foundation
  • Mary Cahill, Chief Investment Officer, Emory University (Retired)
  • Bert Clark, Wealth Management Advisor, Estate Strategies Group, LLC
  • Bernard Gray, President, Gray Ventures
  • Stephanie Lang, Chief Investment Officer, Homrich Berg
  • Jeffrey Muir, Partner, Fulcrum Equity Partners
  • Michael A. Nadal, VP, Portfolio Manager, Montag & Caldwell
  • Galen Oelkers, President, The Zeist Company, LLC
  • Bryan Rand, Chairman, Senior Director, Tritium Partners
  • Wendell Reilly, Chairman, Berman Capital Advisors
  • Anne Sterchi, Executive Director, J. B. Fuqua Foundation