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Investment Forum for Foundations and Endowments Kickoff

Investment Forum for Foundations and Endowments Kickoff

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

The philanthropic efforts of Council members put smiles on the faces of grantees, and improve the lives of people across New Jersey every day. You know all too well that it doesn’t just happen. Behind the scenes, it takes constant effort to maximize the results of that giving through laser-like focus on something that clearly is not the reason you became a grantmaker. That “something” is management of your foundation’s money.

Let’s face it, the better your organization’s portfolio does, the more good you can do. Foundations big and small worry about managing their money effectively; the bigger ones just have more people to do the worrying. Fiduciary responsibility is a crucial function for every board. Everyone seeks that sweet spot where you get the most growth from your investments with the least risk — an ever-moving target in an increasingly varied and complex financial landscape.

There’s so much to know.

Wouldn’t it be great if there was one place you could come to and hear solid advice from lots of experts, get an inside take on the financial outlook, and have your most pressing questions answered?

I hope that, as a member of the Council of New Jersey Grantmakers, you already know there is such a place: CNJG’s 2018 Investment Forum for Foundations and Endowments. And you’re invited.

The Council’s staff and Investment Forum Advisory Committee are putting the final touches on this year’s program, which will take place on November 7 at The Palace at Somerset Park. You’ll be hearing a lot from us about this biennial event from now till then, because we want to make sure you’re not left out. The first two forums, in 2014 and 2016, were huge successes. If you attended, be assured there are enough new sessions and topics this year to make a second or third trip well worth it.

We’re pleased this year to announce as the opening plenary speaker Kim Y. Lew, Vice President and Chief Investment Officer, Carnegie Corporation of New York. Institutional Investor Institute’s 2017 Chief Investment Officer of the Year, Ms. Lew is responsible for the investment management and oversight of the Corporation’s endowment. Before arriving at Carnegie, she spent seven years as senior manager of private equity for the Ford Foundation. In this role, she was responsible for managing the Foundation’s investments in venture capital and buyout funds. Additionally, she managed the distribution portfolio and explored new areas of alternative investing. For five years prior to that, she was the technology portfolio strategist for Ford. During that time, she was responsible for making the buy, hold, and sell decisions for publicly traded stocks in the technology sector on behalf of the Foundation’s internally managed portfolio.

After the plenary, you can choose from among interactive workshops at three rounds of breakout sessions, where topics will be labeled “beginner,” “intermediate,” and “advanced” to help match each grantmaker with his or her level of knowledge. In other words, there will be something for everyone, no matter how deeply you’ve dived into financial management so far, nor what you feel your comfort level might be.

The Basics of Endowment Investing and Portfolio Construction

Alternative Investments: Are they Right for Your Organizations's Portfolio?

A Framework for Evaluating Your Endowment’s Investment Risk

Socially Responsible Investments & Impact Investing

Setting a Spending Policy to Meet Your Organization's Objectives

Effective Approaches to Small Endowment Stewardship

Understanding the Costs of Investments: Negotiating and Tracking Management Fees

A Primer on Cryptocurrency

Those are just a few of the topics that will be discussed in depth to help you get the most out of your organization’s portfolio. Your “teachers” will be asset managers, financial services providers, and professional advisers who specialize in philanthropic investing. Over lunch, a panel of experts will discuss the current market outlook. And because CNJG members always ask for more — there will be plenty of time for networking, too, so you can gain expertise from senior executives and trustees who collectively oversee billions of dollars in assets.

Look for your official invitation soon after Labor Day, and mark November 7 on your calendar for an eye-opening day of learning and sharing.

I look forward to seeing you there.

Jon Shure, Interim President/CEO
Council of New Jersey Grantmakers