Tools & Resources

How Foundations Are Investing Their Endowments: Reports & Studies

Foundations manage their endowments in a variety of ways, such as using an entirely outsourced Chief Investment Officer (CIO); partially outsourcing their decision-making by using an advisory firm that provides CIO services, selects fund managers, and/or researches investment opportunities; or hiring an individual or team in-house that selects fund managers and makes investing decisions. Collecting data on who manages endowment portfolios as well as how can help spark discussions around how to use the endowment to further the foundation's mission. This page shares studies and reports on foundation practices related to their endowment investments.
Have a resource to share? Email Laila Hussain at [email protected].

Knight Diversity of Asset Managers Research Series: Philanthropy

This study is part of a research series produced by Knight Foundation and Global Economics Group tracking how representation of diverse-owned asset managers among philanthropic endowments has changed over time. The 2021 study assesses the representation of investment firms owned by women or members of racial or ethnic minority groups in the United States among investment firms used by the country’s top 55 charitable foundations in terms of total asset size. The report also explores how foundations can foster transparency and monitor change in how they are investing their endowments.

Study of Investment of Endowments For Private And Community Foundations

This yearly study conducted by Council on Foundations and Commonfund Instiute looks at investment and governance policies and practices of 260 private and community foundations in the United States, representing $115.4 billion in assets. The report is intended to serve as a reference resource for those responsible for investment, financial, and governance decisions at private and community foundations throughout the country, and offers insight into decision making processes around endowment investing accross the organizations that were part of the study.

Forging Ahead: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Foundation Investing Activities

This report, produced by The Giving Practice, highlights ways that foundations are considering racial equity in the staffing and management structure of the endowment. The authors interviewed 13 people who are either CEOs or senior investing staff members at the foundations for this report. Most of these foundations manage close to or more than $1 billion in assets, and all are actively implementing DEI initiatives across foundation operations. The report also explores how foundations can consider diversity, equity, and inclusion in vendor selection and procurement.


Please contact [email protected] if you have trouble logging in.