Now is the time to deepen our commitment to making honest change in our community. As Evanston continues to    

recover from the depths of Covid19, ECF is laser-focused on addressing the inequities laid bare by the pandemic.

Please support our ongoing efforts across Evanston with a gift to the Now! Fund

we invest wisely
to earn your trust

“Good investment results are the product of five ‘P’s’ coming together: enthusiastic People following a well-defined Philosophy with consistent Practices can produce good investment Performance. The fifth P — at a low Price — is achieved by our dedicated committee members, all of whom are volunteers.”
— Ralph Segall, Investment Council chair

*A new name to “Investment Council” (formerly “Investment Committee”) and slightly modified membership roster are the results of a modest revision to ECF bylaws in 2017.

sound management and investment practices

Under the management of our highly qualified investment council our funds have a strong track record of adding value while generating resources to give back to the community. The historical average annual investment return over 33 years (1988 through 2020) is 8.96%, with a 12.4% portfolio return in 2020. We will update the remaining commentary and graphics to reflect on 2020 as the data becomes available from the Council on Foundations and our investment council.

Over the most recent ten-year interval, through 2019, ECF's portfolio continued to outperform all community foundations across the United States, and in 3 out of 4 time periods, also outperformed our peer group of community foundations in the $25 - 49.9 million range of assets. Every spring the council presents a briefing on its investment practices and portfolio performance

managing the portfolio

The Investment Council typically meets quarterly to assess performance data against objectives, review asset allocations, and make investment decisions based on the Board's investment and spending policy. Comprising individuals with extensive professional investment experience and lengthy tenure with the Foundation, the Committee's members derive no tangible personal benefit from this service — other than the satisfaction of helping the Foundation fulfill its mission.

steady performance over 30 years

Invest-Returns-1988-2018-450x325.jpgThe past 32 years have seen a remarkable breadth of forces affecting the financial markets, from the fall of communism and the rise of global trade to the recent residential real estate bust and ongoing recovery. Through it all, the Foundation’s portfolio has produced a 8.85% average annual return and a steady, if modest, increase in performance relative to our blended benchmark — the weighted mixture of market indices we use to evaluate our portfolio performance.

Every summer the Council reviews the Investment and Spending Policy and presents its recommendations to the full board. The policy sets asset allocation guidelines for the ECF portfolio and defines the benchmarks against which the Council assesses portfolio performance. The committee also recommends the percentage for spending to be withdrawn from our funds for grants and programs in the coming year. Despite difficult markets in 2000–2002, 2008–2009, 2015, and 2018, ECF has maintained a 5% spending level throughout the decade, thanks to solid investment returns and growing contributions.

board of directors oversees grants awards

Grant awards and distributions are approved by our board of directors, a diverse group representing a wealth of skills, interests and community connections. Board members are actively involved in strategic planning, community outreach, investment oversight, fundraising, and all aspects of responsible governance.