Foundation assets fall by over a quarter

Family, independent and public foundations in the US experienced an average 28 per cent decline in asset values last year, according to a survey by the Council on Foundations (COF). According to the survey, the results of which were announced at COF’s recent Family Philanthropy Conference in Indianapolis, this has not so much meant major changes in investment strategies as changes in investment managers. Nearly half of the 127 respondents had already changed managers or were considering making a change – in fact more than half of the larger foundations ($100 million or more in assets) had already made a change. Similarly, a quarter of those using investment consultants had either already changed consultants or were considering a change.

While nearly half the assets were held in equities at the end of 2008, more than two-fifths of respondents said the share of assets held in equities had dropped and over a third had increased the proportion of assets held in fixed-income securities and cash.

More gloomy news: the Commonfund, which tracks university and foundation endowment performance, predicts that endowments will have fallen by 23 per cent in the first quarter of 2009 alone.
For more information
Press release dated 2 February

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