Foundation Finance Affinity Group

Having a learning community dedicated specifically for foundation finance officers will give us a place to discuss the issues we’re all grappling with and, more importantly, to brainstorm solutions.
- Janice Thomas, CFO, The Meyer Foundation

The fiduciary oversight requirements for private foundations are different from those of traditional 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Foundation finance officers must not only understand traditional accounting rules, they must also be familiar with required legal and tax filings (such as the 990-PF), have a working knowledge of endowment management, including staying up-to-date with trends such as impact and mission-related investing, and applying an equity lens to the finance function.

WRAG’s Foundation Finance Affinity Group helps finance and administrative professionals support their organizations' philanthropic missions by providing:

  • professional development, best practice sharing, and sample resources
  • purposeful networking
  • information about emerging trends

The Foundation Finance Affinity Group is generously sponsored by

                                                       

2018 Events 

SESSION 1: Looking for Returns in Alternative Places
Date:
Thursday, May 17 
Time: 9:30 – 11:00 am
Location: WRAG's office

Elevated equity evaluations, low yields, and the expectation of higher volatility as we head into 2018 make alternative investments an attractive option for investors. However, a number of issues need to be discussed before a foundation considers adding alternative investments to its portfolio.  In this session, we will examine a variety of alternative investments (i.e. private equity, hedge funds, social impact bonds, and more) and we will talk about key considerations for each.

Speaker: Elizabeth Cabell Jennings, Director of Institutional Investments – SunTrust Banks Inc.

SESSION 2: Managing your Investment Manager and Understanding the Associated Costs
Date:
 Wednesday, June 27
Time: 9:30 – 11:00 am
Location: WRAG's office

In this session, we will cover what you should know and consider before, during, and after the RFP process. We will examine key considerations and the types of questions that should be asked at each stage. We will also place special emphasis on understanding and evaluating investment costs, as this is an important but often challenging aspect of financial management. We will look at the various types of costs that investors pay – disclosed and undisclosed – and look at the typical ranges for each cost. We will examine the factors that influence costs, the categories of cost components, and methodology that may be helpful to understanding more fully what your organization pays for investment management.  

Speaker: John W. Church, III, CFA, Managing Director - Glenmede Endowment and Financial Management

SESSION 3: Operationalizing Equity - Who Handles the Money?
Date:
October 16
Time: 9:30 – 11:30 am
Location: WRAG's office

Over the last few decades, there has been significant progress made in the areas of diversity, equity and inclusion, which has paved the way for diverse investment management professionals and the firms they lead. Further, many studies have shown that small independent investment management firms – a number of which are led by people of color - outperform their larger counterparts in many asset classes. Yet, foundations have been slow to invest with small firms or actively seek diverse asset managers. This is a missed opportunity to leverage new investment talent and enhance financial returns. This session will examine best practices and look at some strategies that foundations have followed to drive equity through investment management. 

Speakers:

  • Caroline Greer, Commonfund
  • Phillipa Taylor, Public Welfare Foundation
  • Janice Thomas, Meyer Foundation

 

Foundation Finance Affinity Group Planning Committee:

Quanda Allen, Group Vice President, SunTrust Foundations & Endowments Specialty Practice

Christine Harris, Director of Finance & Administration, Hill-Snowdon Foundation

Phillipa Taylor, Chief Financial & Adminstrative Officer, Public Welfare Foundation

Janice Thomas, CFO, Eugene & Agnes E. Meyer Foundation

Rita Cook, CFO, Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers

If you are a foundation finance staff member who would like to join this group, please contact Katherine Abib, abib(at)washingtongrantmakers.org.