Rethinking the Management of Foundation Endowments

John E. Craig Jr.
Written by John E. Craig Jr.
on October 3, 2009
Published by The Commonwealth Fund

As the implications of the 2008–09 financial crisis for the world economy and markets have become clearer, many foundation executives and investment committees are reassessing their approach to endowment management. This essay reports on the effects of the recent turmoil on foundation endowments thus far, and offers lessons from the crisis and earlier ones that could help boards and investment committees responsible for foundation endowments avoid mistakes going forward. The essay concludes with an analysis of alternative models available to foundations for manag- ing their endowments, highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of each and providing recommendations on preferred models.


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