Investment & Finance
A sound investment program is the corner stone for generating sufficient income to further a foundation’s mission into the future. Accounting for those returns along with tracking the activity of the foundation is the key to providing useful information to staff, board members and general public about the foundation's activities.


A new Guide to Impact Investing from Grantmakers in Health (GIH) presents information to help funders "think strategically about the potential of impact investing and move forward with investment strategies that can enhance achievement of their missions." The primer explains the basics of impact investing and highlights opportunities for collaboration between health funders and other foundations and donors.

Understanding MRIs and PRIs: Two Strategies to Further Foundation Mission
In an article in Philanthropy Journal, attorney David Levitt explores the ways foundations can use mission-related investments (MRIs) and program-related investments (PRIs) to further mission and increase impact. Levitt explains that while PRIs are "treated similar to grants for tax purposes, an MRI is fundamentally a financial investment rather than a grant." The article outlines the difference between the two tools, including the tax and legal implications of each strategy. 

Foundation Investment Returns Make Slow Recovery
The 2011 Commonfund Benchmarks Study of Foundations finds that foundations earned an average total net return of 12.5 percent in the 2010 fiscal year, down from 20.9 percent in fiscal year 2009. In this edition of the annual report, researchers also calculated a 10-year return of 5.1 percent for foundations. Domestic equities yielded the highest returns in 2010 (17.7 percent), followed by international equities (14.5 percent), alternative strategies (10.6 percent), fixed income (8.1 percent) and cash/short-term securities (9.2).

Fashioning an Investment Strategy
Background, ideas, and suggestions to develop investment and spending policies and practices that are consistent with a foundation's mission and goals.

10 Common Errors to Avoid in Completing the 990-PF for Private Foundations
This document is designed to assist the 990-PF foundation signer and tax preparer in the clear and accurate completion of the form, with tips to avoid common mistakes and potentially misleading entries.

Foundation Fiscal Officers Group
FFOG is the Foundation Financial Officers Group, a non-profit membership organization of financial and investment officers of large private foundations in the United States and abroad.

Mission Investors Exchange
Mission Investors Exchange is where philanthropic innovators exchange ideas, tools, and experiences to increase the impact of their capital. Its members include foundations and philanthropic investors of all types and sizes that are interested or actively engaged in using mission investments, including program-related and market-rate mission-related investments.  It provides a forum for networking, professional development, collaboration, and outreach.

Commonfund Institute
The Commonfund Institute conducts a comprehensive survey of financial, governance and policy practices at educational endowments, foundations and health care institutions. These surveys are published, with analytical and descriptive commentary, in a series called the Commonfund Benchmarks Studies®.

Internal Revenue Service
Tax information for foundations, charities and other exempt organizations.