Investment Strategies

MCF's investment strategy is designed to achieve superior returns while moderating risk to enable donors to maximize their philanthropic impact.

To meet the philanthropic objectives of donor funds, investments can be made in one or more of six professionally managed investment pools. Within each pool, MCF hires managers who specialize in particular asset classes to ensure that there is superior performance and adequate diversification. The goal is to benefit from a range of expertise from managers in a way that would be impractical and cost-prohibitive for individual investors.

Donors establishing funds can suggest that assets be invested in any proportion in the six investment pools. For example, for no risk to principal, funds are generally invested solely in the money market pool. Endowed funds, whose objective is to preserve the ability of grants to sustain their financial impact over time, typically split their investments by allocating 75% to either of the equity pools and 25% into the fixed income pool.

Equity Pool

The equity portfolio seeks to earn strong long term returns by allocating its assets to a well diversified mix of US equities, international equities, and hedge funds. Historically, this type of portfolio has earned higher returns than fixed income or money market instruments. At the same time, equity portfolios assume larger amounts of risk. During shorter periods, it is quite possible for the portfolio to produce lower returns than the fixed income or money market portfolios. Therefore, the equity portfolio is particularly appropriate for philanthropic assets with a longer term time horizon and should serve as the primary source of long term portfolio growth.

The aggregate investment management fee for this pool is 0.97% (this can vary somewhat, since some managers within this pool are under an incentive program regarding their fees).

Marin Community Foundation Equity Pool Managers

  • 747 Capital
  • Aberdeen Asset Management Inc.
  • Actis GP LLC
  • Adage Capital Management, L.P.
  • Artisan Partners
  • Canyon Capital Advisors LLC
  • Cevian Capital
  • Champlain Investment Partners, LLC
  • Ecosystem Integrity Management, LLC
  • Effissimo Capital Management 
  • Elliott International Limited
  • Eminence Capital, LLC
  • Gobi Investment Fund Ltd.
  • Hengistbury Investment Partners
  • Highclere International Investors, LLP

  • Hitchwood Capital
  • The Investment Fund for Foundations
  • iShares
  • Lansdowne Developed Markets Fund Limited
  • Metropolitan Real Estate Equity Management, LLC
  • Permian Capital
  • Prime Finance Partners
  • Sanderson Asset Management
  • Schwab
  • Tybourne Long Opportunity Fund
  • The Vanguard Group, Inc.
  • Van Eck Associates Corporation
  • Verdis Investment Management
  • Wellington Management
  • Westwood Global Investments

FutureFirst Pool

The objective for the FutureFirst Pool is to invest its assets in global equity securities that produce long-term growth and that reflect mission-centric values by avoiding investments in fossil fuel and tobacco. Additionally, FutureFirst will actively commit to investment strategies that carry a high level of social and environmental impact, and will vote proxies based on both U.S. and international criteria developed by Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS). FutureFirst will designate 10% for specific impact investments, and in the interim will hold the assets in an Aperio Global Carbon- and Tobacco-Free Portfolio.

The aggregate investment fee for the management of this pool is 0.59% (this can vary somewhat, since some managers within this pool are under an incentive program regarding their fees).

Fixed Income Pool

The objective of the fixed income portfolio is to seek yields that are more durable and usually higher than those available from the Money Market portfolio. It is suited for funds that can accept the market-value volatility (unrealized gains or losses) associated with fluctuation in interest rates, changes in credit quality, and currency fluctuations in order to earn a higher level of income over time than is generally available in money market securities.

The investment management fee for this pool is 0.38%.

Marin Community Foundation Fixed Income Investment Managers

  • Colchester Global Investors 
  • Dodge & Cox Funds 
  • Garcia Hamilton
  • iShares 
  • Mondrian Investment Partners Limited
  • Oaktree Capital Management, L.P.
  • Payden Short Bond Fund
  • Seix Investment Advisors LLC
  • The Vanguard Group, Inc.

Enhanced Cash Pool

This pool is designed to improve on the returns provided by a typical money market vehicle. Its goal is to maximize current income while preserving capital and providing daily liquidity. For greater diversification than typical money market investments, the pool invests in money market as well as short maturity fixed-income securities. It differs from traditional money market funds by investing in longer maturities and lower-rated credits to attempt to generate excess relative returns. Unlike a money market account, the Enhanced Cash Pool's market value will fluctuate.

The investment management fee for this pool is 0.26%

Money Market Pool

The Money Market portfolio contains U.S. Government securities with an average portfolio maturity of less than 90 days and FDIC insured certificates of deposit with a duration of one year or less. The Money Market portfolio is designed to make liquid assets available in order to meet annual cash requirements. It also provides a vehicle for donors who would like their contributions to earn income at current money market rates while ensuring the preservation of principal. The rate of income varies depending on short-term interest rates.

MCF Loan Fund Investment Pool

The MCF Loan Fund is a revolving fund that provides short- and long-term financing for a wide range of important nonprofit endeavors in Marin, including affordable housing, environmental protection, and arts education, among many others. Rates of return vary according to the length of the investment period. This investment option is available except upon the infrequent occasions when the Loan Fund has reached its capacity.

There is no investment fee associated with this investment option.

How It Works

nonprofit contacts the MCF Loan Fund department to apply for a loan as it is unable to go through traditional financial institutions due to tight restrictions or perceived risk.

The loan application is reviewed and upon recommendation is sent to the MCF President and MCF Board of Directors for consideration.

Upon approval, the nonprofit receives either a short or long-term loan.

They also have the opportunity to access hands-on financial training and technical assistance, should they be interested.

Repayments made are returned to the Loan Fund for future lending.

Donors can invest a portion of their assets into the MCF Loan Fund Investment Pool.

In so doing, they are supporting local community efforts in Marin County.

They will also be earning a modest rate of return. When the loan is repaid, assets are returned to their donor-advised fund.

Once assets are returned to the fund, they become available to recommend as grants or can be reinvested for future lending.

The Loan Fund has had a 0% default rate over the last 20 years

Loans supporting Marin nonprofits range in size from $75,000 to $3 million

The minimal initial investment for a donor is $25,000; there is no investment fee


Performance of investment pools through July 31, 2017 (net of investment fees, with benchmarks provided for comparisons):

1 Month Quarter 1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 7 Years 10 Year
Equity Pool 1.9% 4.1% 17.4% 6.7% 9.9% 9.2% 5.0%
70% MSCI ACWI/30% HFRI Fund of Funds* 2.3% 4.2% 13.7% 5.0% 8.8% 7.7% 3.4%
FutureFirst Pool 2.2% 6.3% 21.2% 12.8% 15.8% 13.6% 6.5%
MSCI AC World Index 2.8% 5.5% 17.1% 6.2% 10.9% 9.7% 4.2%
Fixed Income Pool 0.7% 1.5% 0.9% 2.0% 2.1% 3.4% 4.7%
Barclays Capital Aggregate 0.4% 1.1% -0.5% 2.7% 2.0% 3.1% 4.4%
Enhanced Cash Pool 0.0% 0.5% 3.0% 1.7% 1.7% 1.6% 2.3%
Money Market Pool 0.1% 0.2% 0.6% 0.4% 0.3% 0.3% 0.7%
U.S. T-Bills 0.1% 0.2% 0.5% 0.3% 0.2% 0.2% 0.6%

*MSCI ACWI - Morgan Stanley Capital International All Country World Index (a weighted index designed to provide a broad measure of equity- market performance throughout the world, comprised of stocks from both developed and emerging markets) HFRI Fund of Funds – Hedge Fund Research, Inc. Fund of Funds Composite Index (an index that tracks the performance of hedge fund of fund managers)

MCF Loan Fund Investment Pool

1 Month Quarter 1 Year 3 Years 5 Years 7 Years 10 Year
1 year term 0.13% .0.38% 1.5% 1.5% N/A N/A N/A
2 year term .15% .44% 1.75% 1.75% N/A N/A N/A
3 year term .17% .5% 2.0% 2.0% N/A N/A N/A
4 year term .21% .63% 2.5% 2.5% N/A N/A N/A

For questions about investment strategies, contact

Sid Hartman

Chief Financial & Operating Officer