Commonfund CEO Catherine M. Keating '87 Helps Manage Money for Nonprofits So They Can Do More Good
“We want to manage our clients’ money the way they would manage it,” said Keating, who became the president and CEO of Commonfund in 2015. “That means every basis point matters, because that’s a basis point that they can spend on their missions.”
Rather than spending their donations entirely on their expenses, nonprofits that use the model invest a strategic amount from their endowment assets to generate income for the long term. Colleges and universities, for example, often withdraw 4-5 percent from their endowments to help cover their annual operating budget.
“We were founded because, as recently as the 1960s, most nonprofits actually didn’t have investment practices and investment portfolios that were going to sustain them over time,” Keating said. “Most nonprofits invested just in bonds, which were safe in the short term, but not sufficient to generate the level of returns required to sustain institutions over the long term.”