A rate of return to celebrate


A revitalization of the Quad Cities Community Foundation investment structure is not only yielding excellent returns, but also means that donors will now be able to do more good in the community.

The Community Foundation made several key changes to its investment structure during the last couple of years, said Tim O'Donnell, senior vice president of Fund Evaluation Group (FEG). FEG began partnering with the Community Foundation to provide investment oversight in 2016. The partnership has yielded a strong return on its investments in 2017 while also reducing fees and increasing the pool of investments available for donors.

The enhancements are cause for celebration. The endowment pool rate of investment return for 2017 was 14.3 percent (beating our benchmark of 13.6 percent) and the two-year return was 10.85 percent, according to Kathy Graves, vice president of finance and administration. The Community Foundation's total assets are now $139 million, of which $117 million is permanently endowed.

Simply put, there is now more granting money available for Quad Cities nonprofits. "It's certainly gratifying to see the fruits of our labor," Graves said. "We worked hard and we devoted a lot of time to this. It's a win-win for our donors, and our community."

The changes, she added, have and will continue to have an impact on the Quad Cities. "This is hugely important," she said. "Part of the purpose of our endowments—which includes our Community Impact Fund, which we are proud to say is among the largest resources for community philanthropy in our region—is to return a steady flow of resources into the community. The better the return, the better the flow."

The improvements have been met with excitement, Graves said, and donors have taken advantage of the new investment opportunities. "The new investment options we are offering donors allow them to place their endowments in an investment strategy they are comfortable with," she said. "Our largest pool is still the Long Term Pool, but donors are appreciating being able to allocate to the Strategic Growth Pool and the Socially Responsible Pool."

A team of local financial advisors will continue to manage the Community Foundation's investment portfolio, and FEG will provide oversight and make recommendations for improvement. "They've been a great partner," Graves said. "It adds another layer of expertise to the organization."

"Across the board, the changes the Community Foundation has implemented have freed up time so that staff can work on their core mission," O'Donnell said, noting that the work is never done. "We're always reevaluating what we're doing," he said. "And, I should add, we're happy and comfortable with how the portfolio is allocated right now."

To learn more about the new investment options available to donors, please contact Kathy Graves, vice president of finance and administration, at 563/326-2840.

Melanie JonesDonors