About Commonfund

Founded in 1971, Commonfund is an asset management firm dedicated to enhancing our clients’ financial resources by delivering exceptional performance, service, and insight.

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Why Choose Commonfund?

Our extensive experience in the investment industry allows us to provide informed and relevant solutions to institutional investors. Our comprehensive approach is designed to help you navigate the complexities of investing. The size of our firm differentiates us from many other managers; we’re large enough to have a full team of experienced investors and back-office staff to assist with everything you need to run a sophisticated global portfolio but we’re small enough that we can get to know you and understand your needs. We also have enough buying power to gain access to high-quality managers and negotiate fees on behalf of our investors.

We deliver outsourced CIO services through Commonfund OCIO and Private Equity solutions through CF Private Equity.

Learn More About Our Investment Strategy

Commonfund’s Mission

Commonfund’s core mission is to enhance the financial resources of our clients and help them improve their investment management practices. As a private, nonprofit organization, we are beholden to our clients, not shareholders or outside owners. This enables us to align our interests with those of our clients and lets us focus our undivided attention on institutional asset management. We execute our mission through three components that form our foundation. This base allows us to hire, grow, and retain talented individuals, invest in resources and support assets, and deliver a wide range of educational programs specifically for institutional investors.




Access to in-demand managers and strategies
Knowledge and data 
World-class investment professionals
50-year track record
Long-term horizon 
Agility to target and customize investments
Purpose-driven culture
Focused on the client’s mission 
Commitment to trust, transparency and ethical behavior 

Company History

The idea of Commonfund came about in the late 1960s. Investment returns of college endowments were lagging behind the growth in operating budgets. This lag caused increasing concern throughout the higher education industry about the future sustainability of these institutions. Traditional endowment practices of the time also hampered the ability to fully address these issues.

To dive deeper into this subject, The Ford Foundation sponsored a seminal study ‘The Law and the Lore of Endowment Funds’ that helped shed light on the then-new concept of total return and the impact it could have on institutions.

As a result of The Ford Foundation’s study, a grant for $2.8 million was given for the founding of The Common Fund for Nonprofit Organizations (Commonfund). Two years later, The Common Fund was officially founded.

Company Milestones

Over the years, we’ve grown and expanded the range of investment funds and supporting services we offers. Along the way, our company has experienced a variety of key milestones.



Speakers: Maria Tapia, former President, Commonfund Securities, Inc., Peter Burns, former President & CEO, CF Private Equity; John Griswold, former Executive Director, Commonfund Institute; Tim Yates, CEO & President, Commonfund OCIO; Elaine Mizer, Chief Human Resources Officer, Commonfund; Caroline Greer, Managing Director, Commonfund OCIO; George Suttles, Executive Director, Commonfund Institute. Video was published in July 2021 in celebration of 50 years.


The Ford Foundation publishes two studies:
The Law and Lore of Endowment Funds and
Managing Educational Endowments

These reports paved the way for the creation of Commonfund.


“The Common Fund for Nonprofit Organizations” commences operation.

The firm is founded with a $2.8 million grant from the Ford Foundation.


1st research publication, Measuring Investment Performance and Setting Investment Objectives by J. Peter Williamson was released.


1st fund for management of operating cash created


1st endowment fixed income fund created


AUM reaches $500 million after 10 years of operation


1st use of hedging strategy in diversifying equity portfolio


1st international equity fund opened


1st global fixed income fund opened


1st in a series of South Africa Free (SAF) funds launched


Commonfund Capital, Inc. created to access opportunities in private market investing

The APM, a tool for simulating endowment performance with various asset allocation variables, is made available to clients


1st energy fund launched by Commonfund Capital

1st investment in distressed debt


1st alternative investments


1st focused equity and fixed income funds created


1st hedge fund strategies introduced


1st Commonfund Prize for investment research is awarded

Treasury Access launched to help nonprofits manage operating reserves and working capital balances


Launch of initial client portal


1st Commonfund Forum held

Who we serve broadened to nonprofit foundations, healthcare organizations and Canadian educational institutions


Commonfund Institute and Treasury Institute are formed


1st Commonfund Benchmarks Study published

Full-discretion advisory service introduced for institutions looking to outsource their investment office


1st international office opened in London


1st separate account management introduced


Who we serve expanded to include pension funds, family offices and other select long-term investors

2nd international office opens in Beijing


New York City office opens at 280 Park Avenue


Recognized as "Highly Commended OCIO Provider" at Institutional Asset Management Awards

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Office established

1st Corporate Responsibility Report published

Cogent Reports US Institutional Investor Brandscape ranks Commonfund among Top 10 Most Trusted Institutional Asset Managers


1st carbon neutral Commonfund Forum

Cogent Reports US Institutional Investor Brandscape ranks Commonfund Forum as the 2nd most popular conference among nonprofits

Diverse Manager Portal launched


Became a signatory to the 2020 Belonging Pledge—A Commitment to Advance Racial Equity sponsored by the Confluence Philanthropy

1st environmental sustainability strategy opens


50 years of asset management for nonprofit investors

Became sponsor of the 2021 Climate Action Pursuit led by Second Nature and the Intentional Endowments Network


Commonfund Capital ranked 3rd best secondary firm in North America and Europe by HEC Paris

Ranked in the top 10 as largest outsourcing manager for both endowments and foundations by Pensions & Investments

Commonfund Institute Online launches


Ranked 4th largest outsourcing manager in the U.S. for endowment assets by Pensions & Investments

Renewed partnership with NACUBO on annual benchmark study of endowments

CF Private Equity dedicated website launched

1st OCIO Point of View Podcast released

Two core businesses renamed: CF Private Equity and Commonfund OCIO

Interested in Commonfund?

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Telephone / General Inquiries: (888) 823-6246

Client Account Assistance: (888) 823-3863

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Media Inquiries:  Emily Roy at Prosek Partners  (646) 818-9232 or email our media partner.

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