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2018 Council on Foundations-Commonfund Study of Foundations Released

August 15, 2019  | by Commonfund

Industry Knowledge

National Foundation Study Reports Negative Investment Returns for 2018; Spending Rates Steady, Donations to Community Foundations Mixed

Data from the Council on Foundations-Commonfund Study Generally Positive for the Long Term, but Show Challenges Remain for Future Mission Support

New York, NY, August 15, 2019 — Data gathered in the 2018 Council on Foundations–Commonfund Study of Investment of Endowments for Private and Community Foundations® (CCSF) show that investment returns for participating private and community foundations declined to mid-single-digit losses in 2018 from double-digit gains in 2017. (All data collected are for the prior calendar year, January 1 through December 31.)

Participating private foundations reported an average 2018 return of -3.5 percent versus an increase of 15.0 percent for 2017. Participating community foundations reported an average return of -5.3 percent for 2018 compared with 15.1 percent for 2017. (All return data are reported net of fees.)

Two thousand eighteen represented the third time in the past 10 years that CCSF participants have reported flat to negative annual returns. The previous year represented the third time over the same period that average participant returns exceeded 15.0 percent. 2008—when returns were impacted by the financial crisis and great recession—dropped out of trailing 10-year calculations this year; losses in 2008 exceeded 25.0 percent for both private and community foundations.

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Disclaimer

Information, opinions, or commentary concerning the financial markets, economic conditions, or other topical subject matter are prepared, written, or created prior to printing and do not reflect current, up-to-date, market or economic conditions. Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to update such information, opinions, or commentary. To the extent views presented forecast market activity, they may be based on many factors in addition to those explicitly stated in this material. Forecasts of experts inevitably differ. Views attributed to third parties are presented to demonstrate the existence of points of view, not as a basis for recommendations or as investment advice. Managers who may or may not subscribe to the views expressed in this material make investment decisions for funds maintained by Commonfund or its affiliates. The views presented in this material may not be relied upon as an indication of trading intent on behalf of any Commonfund fund, or of any Commonfund manager. Market and investment views of third parties presented in this material do not necessarily reflect the views of Commonfund and Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to present its views on the subjects covered in statements by third parties. Statements concerning Commonfund’s views of possible future outcomes in any investment asset class or market, or of possible future economic developments, are not intended, and should not be construed, as forecasts or predictions of the future investment performance of any Commonfund fund. Such statements are also not intended as recommendations by any Commonfund entity or employee to the recipient of the presentation. It is Commonfund’s policy that investment recommendations to its clients must be based on the investment objectives and risk tolerances of each individual client. All market outlook and similar statements are based upon information reasonably available as of the date of this presentation (unless an earlier date is stated with regard to particular information), and reasonably believed to be accurate by Commonfund. Commonfund disclaims any responsibility to provide the recipient of this presentation with updated or corrected information. Past performance is not indicative of future results. For more information please refer to Important Disclosures.