Inside MCF

The Chronicle of Philanthropy Spotlights Marguerite Casey Foundation’s Investment and Financial Stewardship

June 12, 2017


On June 6, 2017, The Chronicle of Philanthropy published, “Getting Squeezed,” a news report that found endowments for nonprofit charities and foundations nationwide are experiencing difficulty producing strong and sound investment returns.

The report highlighted Marguerite Casey Foundation’s nearly 8 percent investment return in 2016, which exceeded the median return of 6 percent (for fiscal years that end in December) of the 137 foundation and endowment funds surveyed.

The report’s findings and Marguerite Casey Foundation’s nearly 8 percent investment return are important because U.S. law requires philanthropies to distribute 5 percent of their investments each year to maintain their nonprofit status. Nonprofits also need to exceed a 5 percent investment return to cover inflation in order to maintain long-term sustainability.

The Chronicle’s national findings reflect the importance of a strong vision and investment strategy to ensure that a philanthropy can uphold its mandate, said Luz Vega-Marquis, CEO and president of Marguerite Casey Foundation.

“Marguerite Casey Foundation’s return for 2016 is a testament to years of strong financial stewardship and governance policies. We take a long-view approach to what we do,” she said.

“It requires thought, analysis and cooperation to earn an 8 percent return so our mission – that no family should live in poverty – can thrive in some of the poorest parts of America.”

The Chronicle report cited comments from David Villa , board treasurer for Marguerite Casey Foundation. The Foundation’s investment strategy also benefits from the expertise and insights of Chief Financial Officer Joyce Lee.

“While our investment return was higher than our peers, the cost of managing our investment portfolio is less than half of that of our peers. The net benefit of our returns is that it strengthens Marguerite Casey Foundation’s ability to help grassroots organizations and families work for positive change on their own behalf,” Lee said.

“That’s the tangible part to all of this. The Chronicle’s report is important because it gives a nationwide look at a crucial topic for endowments and foundations.”

Marguerite Casey Foundation, which has a fiscal year ending in December, will continue to assess its investments and the financial markets regularly, Vega-Marquis said.

“We’re in a unique political moment for 2017. Working families have led the way in making tremendous progress in the pursuit of a just and equitable society,” she said.

“Marguerite Casey Foundation’s work continues, especially since more progress is needed, and our mission calls for us to exist into perpetuity.”

Marguerite Casey Foundation is dedicated to creating, through the Equal Voice Network, a national movement of low-income families advocating on their own behalf for social and economic policies that strengthen families and communities.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy Spotlights Marguerite Casey Foundation’s Investment and Financial Stewardship