Our financial management follows a disciplined process, focused on full market cycle performance and not short-term market fluctuations, to ensure the viability of the Community Foundation and the funds under our care.

We retain a fee-based investment consultant, Crewcial Partners, LLC, to advise us on manager selection and investment allocation. Our large investment pool allows a high-level diversification of assets that includes the use of hedge funds and private equity. We have a long-term, moderate approach using diversification consistent with our investment pool size. Contact us for more detailed information about our investment managers.

The Community Foundation offers an investment pool for fundholders who want to generate a competitive market return while also emphasizing social and environmental benefits. Our Sustainable Responsible Impact (SRI) investment pool focuses on Environmental, Social, and Governance factors (ESG) and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The goal of the SRI pool is to achieve strong risk-adjusted returns in investments that have a positive impact on the world. Our SRI pool seeks to support, promote and advance the following values and impact areas, embodied in our mission and vision:

Quality Education Arts & Culture Human Rights
Ending Poverty Well-Being of Children Literacy
Anti-Racism Economic Justice Public Policy & Advocacy

These areas were chosen by our board of directors under the guidance of 17 SDGs that were adopted by world leaders at the 2015 United Nations Sustainable Development Summit. The SDGs have become standard global metrics used in the investment sector for ESG framing. New and existing fundholders can now choose either the main investment pool or the SRI pool for their fund.

How We Implement Our Values Screens

When our investment consultant, Crewcial Partners, invests with an investment manager, the following criteria are evaluated to assess its alignment with our Values Framework:

  • A manager’s performance across ESG factors as well as the health of the fund’s underlying businesses across similar criteria. ESG factors include a company’s use and stewardship of natural resources, relationships in the communities where it works and management of shareholder rights, internal controls and executive pay.
  • Investment in funds that prioritize environmental integrity, energy transition, and diversity, equity and inclusion.
  • Screening out investments that are in direct conflict with the SRI Pool Values Framework.

Our investment managers are evaluated on these criteria in a rubric that weighs investment philosophy, values alignment, performance and impact.

Performance

The pool is invested for long-term returns sufficient to preserve and enhance real, inflation-adjusted grantmaking power, in a diversified portfolio of domestic and international public equities, fixed income and alternatives. To view the pool’s latest investment performance, visit our financial information page.

Strategic Asset Allocation

The strategic allocation of this fund is defined by the Finance Committee of our board of directors in collaboration with our investment consultant. Donors can choose either the main investment pool or the SRI pool.

 

*Cash/Short-Term Bonds managed by Syracuse-based Cooperative Federal Credit Union.

The responsibility for managing our investment portfolio is vested in the Board of Directors through our Finance Committee. This committee works closely with our investment consultant and staff to set policy, establish performance benchmarks and continually monitor the effectiveness and diversification of our portfolio.

When investing assets for long-term growth, market fluctuations are expected. There is no potential for growth relative to inflation without acceptance of volatility risk. Our investment policy statement sets forth a growth approach that requires comprehensive diversification and ranges for asset allocation.

The risk tolerance used in our investment policy is driven by a long time horizon for the use of endowed funds. Our finance committee believes that investing in assets with higher return expectations outweighs short-term volatility risk. As a result, the majority of assets are invested in equity or equity-like securities. This is balanced with the use of low-correlated, lower volatility asset classes including fixed income and alternatives. This risk tolerance would be characterized as moderate growth or growth by most investment managers.

The Community Foundation spends from its endowment at a prudent rate that balances the community’s need for grant support with the responsibility we have to keep pace with inflation. Our spending policy also is designed to mute short-term market volatility. Each year the spendable amount from our endowed funds is calculated by using the prior 20 quarters and averaging the balance of the fund during that time. Then, our annual spending rate – which is around 4 to 5 percent – is applied to that average. This prevents overspending in periods when the market is up or underspending when the market is down.

We use benchmarks as guides to make sure that our portfolio performance is consistent with the investment allocation we have selected when compared to the market. Inherently, since our portfolio does not cover the entire diversified space of the assets we include, we will not always match the benchmark. Sometimes we will outperform and sometimes we will underperform the benchmark. Over time, it has shown that our selected holdings are performing within an acceptable range.

Our finance committee, with the guidance of our consultant, regularly reviews our investment allocations and the performance of particular investments. We periodically make changes in investment holdings or update our allocations as needed. The finance committee annually reviews our investment policy to ensure it provides for the needs of the community both now and in the future.

Financial and other information about Central New York Community Foundation’s purpose, programs and activities can be obtained by contacting Peter Dunn, president & CEO at 431 East Fayette Street, Syracuse, NY 13202; 315.422.9538; cnycf.org. A recently filed financial report is available from the Charities Registry on the New York State Attorney General’s website at charitiesnys.com or, upon request, by contacting the New York State Attorney General, Charities Bureau, 28 Liberty Street, New York, NY 10005 or by calling 212.416.8401.

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