Topical Engagement Group: Investment Best Practices - Exponent Philanthropy

Topical Engagement Group: Investment Best Practices

Do you ever wonder how like-sized foundations are approaching investment portfolio management? 

Would you enjoy informal discussion on a regular basis with colleagues willing to share information and best practices for their investments? 

New this year, the Topical Engagement Group: Investment Best Practices will establish a small group of like-sized foundation professionals for quarterly communication to share insights, discuss challenges, and engage in peer learning around investment portfolios.

Participation in the group will support financial decision making through informal peer benchmarking and provide a supportive network for advice and feedback on challenges and opportunities in managing foundation finances.


Informal one-hour calls will take place at the end of each fiscal quarter. Participants share with one another portfolio performance results and compelling stories behind the numbers. The call will allow opportunities to question one another and discuss both past performance and forward-looking positioning.

If participants are interested, calls could also take a deeper look into specialized topics such as asset allocation, investment policy statements, fees, investment consultants, and the like, or even feature an occasional guest speaker.

Calls will be scheduled every three months after quarter end. A video web-based meeting software will be used. Participants will receive an agenda to guide discussion and will have an opportunity to provide input in advance.

The first call will take place on April 10 at 2:00 pm EST.

Who should join

The group will focus on the investment performance of foundations with endowments between $50-$150 million. Participants also should be open to the idea of, if not somehow focused on, SRI/ESG investing. Willingness to share information and commitment to absolute privacy of group discussions is a must.

Staff positions may vary depending on who is most involved in the organization’s investments at a staff level: executive directors, finance directors, chief investment officers, and so on. Outside investment consultants are not eligible.

Potential members must have a strong commitment to being part of the group on an ongoing basis. Group size will be initially set at 8 members. The discussion group will operate for one-year trial period with frequent modification based on member feedback.


The group will be planned and moderated by Exponent Philanthropy members Debra Moniz, Cedar Tree Foundation, and Lawrence Bernstein, The Lawrence Foundation. Please be in touch with either with any questions about the group.

To join

Potential participants who meet the criteria outlined above should send a short email of interest by March 13 to A wait list will be maintained if interest exceeds 8 members.