Financial & Investment Information
|Former Foundation board member Peter Damon (left) listens intently as W.E. Phillips asks a question at a Foundation-hosted investment briefing.
The Rhode Island Foundation is a public charitable organization. We employ long-term investment strategies and sound financial principles to ensure that the charitable dollars entrusted to us last forever. We also serve the larger community, requiring us now, more than ever, to maximize our available grantmaking dollars.
Diversified Asset Allocations
The Foundation has a diversified asset allocation and sets high performance standards for investment managers. During the past decade, the Foundation has increased the proportion of equity investments and has expanded its portfolio to include emerging markets, alternative investments, and global fixed income assets. Index funds comprised 31 percent of the Foundation’s portfolio, as of December 31, 2011.
The Foundation is committed to a “total return” investment philosophy, including a 5.9% average spending limit, to ensure our endowment grows in perpetuity. Any investment return earned over the spending limit is added to principal, increasing the endowment's size to combat inflation and overcome cyclical down markets. Learn more: investment policies.
We are proud to report that in the five years from 2007 through 2011, grantmaking grew from $25.5 million to more than $28.0 million. The increase in annual grantmaking can be attributed to the Foundation's prudent spending policy.
Adopted in 1991, the Foundation's spending policy guides us in determining what will be disbursed from the endowment. Considered necessary to preserve and enhance the principal of the funds, the policy helps maintain the real value of the endowment while providing consistent grantmaking dollars during uncertain and volatile investment markets. This "smoothing mechanism" will continue to provide a dependable source of spending for current Foundation operations and programs in perpetuity.