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

Belinda Brady
Director, Investments

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, 2018

Market Overview – Heavily influenced by the sharp equity market drop in December 2018, fourth quarter 2018 equity returns were dismal in absolute terms. The S & P 500 Index’s decline of -9.0% in December 2018 was its largest monthly decline since February 2001. In general, non-US equity markets dropped less than broad US equity indices. Factors contributing to the negative quarterly equity returns include:
• Weaker economic data
• Trade tensions
• Rising interest rate environment

Fourth quarter 2018 also saw high levels of equity market volatility.

Investment Pool – The Investment Pool (“Pool”) declined -5.3% in calendar year 2018. A -9.7% loss in 4Q 2018 wiped out earlier gains for the year. Although this return is disappointing, it is important to note the relative results for the calendar year were strong as evidenced below:

Calendar Year 2018
Pool: -5.3%
Target Benchmark: -6.4%

Relative results for longer term periods ending 12/31/18 also reflect Pool outperformance versus the Target Benchmark.

We have increased the global equity weight (from 60% to 70%) with a corresponding
decrease in the bond component of the index-based stock/bond split we provide as another measure to gauge Pool performance.

American Funds – The American Funds portfolio’s returns were not immune to the equity market pullback in 2018. For the calendar year, the American Funds results were -5.3%, well ahead of its respective Benchmark return of -7.6%. Annual total portfolio returns were significantly impacted by the large decline of -8.5% in the fourth quarter of 2018.

Conservative Fund – The Foundation’s Conservative Fund returned 1.7% for calendar year 2018 and .5% for the quarter, which is in line with expectations for a primarily money market portfolio.

Summary – The Foundation’s investment options menu provides clear choices across the risk/return spectrum, which continue to produce results in line with their respective objective.

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 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)
• Edward S. Croft, III, Managing Director, Croft & Bender, LP
• Bernard Gray, President, Gray Ventures
• Stephanie Lang, Chief Investment Officer, Homrich Berg
• Michael A. Nadal, VP, Portfolio Manager, Montag & Caldwell
• Galen Oelkers, President, The Zeist Company, LLC
• Bryan Rand, Chairman, Partner, Belstone Capital
• Wendell Reilly, Chairman, Berman Capital Advisors
• Anne Sterchi, Executive Director, J. B. Fuqua Foundation