• Kids stand on a fence looking at the McIntyre Range of the Adirondack High Peaks.

Our Commitment and Approach

Every dollar that we steward on behalf of our many generous supporters is a critical investment in Adirondack people and communities. With diligent guidance from our Finance Committee, our investment strategy focuses on maximizing returns within an acceptable risk tolerance to generate grant dollars for today while also preserving resources to fund future needs. 

As a community foundation, our overarching goal is to ensure that charitable dollars entrusted to us are well stewarded and being put to work – year after year – for the betterment of Adirondack communities. We are dedicated to an investment philosophy that earns market-level returns and emphasizes superior long-term performance, which at times may cause our returns to experience short-term volatility. We look for ways to control volatility – ever mindful that we’re in this for the long-term to strengthen the Adirondack region.

  • We pool and invest our family of funds to help our supporters maximize the impact of their generosity. Through our investment policy, our Board of Trustees delegates investment management decisions to the Finance Committee, who works to execute a well-diversified asset allocation strategy with our investment managers at Mercer Investments. We strive to maximize return within an acceptable risk tolerance to generate grant dollars for today, while preserving resources to fund future needs in our communities. 

  • Adirondack Foundation has engaged Mercer Investments to advise us on our investment portfolio. Our objective is to have 65% of our assets in index and index-like investments in Vanguard funds. The rest of the assets are actively managed by them as well. The asset allocation is 70% equity and 30% fixed income.

  • Supporting fees on our funds are, in effect, a charitable gift to the region, because they fuel our work. Adirondack Foundation's supporting fees are tiered based on the size of the fund. Funds requiring high levels of transactions, such as processing more than 30 gifts or grants per year, will be assessed additional value-added fee. A full fee schedule is available upon request. 

  • The spending policy for Adirondack Foundation's permanent funds is set by the Board at 4.25% of the average market value of assets at the end of the trailing 12 calendar quarters, including income, realized and unrealized appreciation and, in some cases, principal. This rate may be adjusted by the Board from time to time, depending on investment performance or other factors. For certain permanent funds the Board may approve a different rate, depending on donor objectives.

  • Adirondack Foundation, along with its investment consultant and committee, continually reviews its asset allocation targets, select managers, and review performance. To see a list of our current Investment Committee members, please contact us directly.

    Additionally, the Council on Foundations has determined that our organization is in full compliance with the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations. This accomplishment provides assurance to the public that we maintain the highest of standards in the administration of our organization.

  • Endowments are meant to last forever while personal investments typically have a shorter horizon. In the short-term, for instance, an individual account may look like it is performing better, but in the long run, volatility often evens out and endowments can outperform individual accounts. The Foundation’s returns, therefore, are comparable to endowment returns of other community foundations and not the S&P.

  • The greatest difference between the Foundation reporting of performance and widely reported market information in the news is that the Foundation reporting will generally correspond to our fiscal year, July 1 - June 30. Most often when market return information is broadly reported on, it is from a calendar year perspective. Before a fair comparison can be done, the timeframes for the two must be the same.

  • All fundholders can access fund information and make grant recommendations online through our Fund Advisor Portal. It is important to note that the investment returns and fund balances in the portal are updated on a quarterly basis. If you are unsure about the balance or would like assistance interpreting fund information, contact us – we would be happy to walk you through it. 

  • We have two pools available for investment – the long-term main pool and an intermediate pool. Donors may wish to choose among them based on their investment time horizon. See below for a high-level comparison of the three. 

    Flexible donor-advised fundholders may wish to draw down their fund to make grants prior to replenishing the fund at a later date. These individuals may have a shorter investment time horizon than permanent fund holders. If invested in the main fund with a 70% equity allocation they would be exposed to greater volatility and potential for principal loss given the shortness of time available to recover from downturns. The intermediate fund, with an asset allocation tuned to their shorter time horizon, may be a better match of risk and investment horizon.

Investment Pool Options 

We have two pools available for investment – the long-term main pool and an intermediate pool. Donors may wish to choose among them based on their investment time horizon. See below for a high-level comparison of the two

  1. Main Pool

    A great option for donors who expect their fund balance to remain fairly stable over the long-term.

    • 5+ year time horizon
    • 70% equities/30% fixed income
    • Available to all fund types
  2. Intermediate Pool

    A fund with an asset allocation tuned to a shorter time horizon for donors wishing to balance risk and investment horizon.

    • 2-5 year time horizon
    • 30% equities/70% fixed income
    • Available to flexible donor advised funds
Brandy Hobson, Senior Accountant

Brandy Hobson

Interim Chief Financial Officer & Senior Accountant