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The Community Foundation believes it is important to periodically evaluate the marketplace for investment managers. Over the past year, the Foundation conducted a thorough request for proposal ("RFP") process to identify the best investment partner for our Signature Fund.
Importance of evaluating the marketplace
Through the combination of generous gifts and strong investment returns, the Community Foundation and its affiliated entities held over $1.2 billion in combined total assets at the end of 2020. From this position of financial strength, we take our stewardship and fiduciary responsibility very seriously and believe it is important to periodically evaluate the marketplace for investment managers. Consequently, the Foundation chose to conduct a thorough request for proposal (“RFP”) process over the past year to identify the best investment partner for our Signature Fund – our primary investment pool designed to produce strong, long-term investment returns with low volatility.
The process allowed us to evaluate several candidates with the support of our Investment Committee and Alpha Capital Management, a firm that specializes in RFP processes for nonprofits and foundations, including many community foundations. We are grateful for the strength, diverse experience, and perspective of our volunteer Investment Committee led by chair Lawrence Gray. Other members of the Committee include Kelly Armstrong, Austin Brockenbrough, Steve Goddard, Philip Goodpasture, Kirsti Goodwin (on behalf of the Jenkins Foundation), Jim Hartough, and Bryce Powell (on behalf of the R.E.B. Foundation). Their astute questions, spirited discussion, and genuine commitment to local philanthropy are what give us full confidence in our decision to remain invested with Spider Management Company (“Spider”), the investment arm of the University of Richmond.
By comparing Spider to other candidates, we analyzed and benchmarked Spider’s investment performance and fee structure relative to other firms. In doing so, we were reassured that Spider’s investment offerings are competitive. We are grateful for Spider’s continued commitment to the Richmond region, as well as their increased focus on diversity, equity and inclusion both internally and as part of manager selection. Through this renewed partnership, Spider will also provide increased oversight and reporting for our other investment options. These additional services will allow the Foundation’s finance team to be more available for the day-to-day needs of our donors.
Spider has also committed to a significant reduction in management and partnership expenses, including further reduction of management fees from 48 bps to 42 bps based on current assets and the elimination of incentive fees. The management fees will continue to decrease as the Foundation's assets grow. Most significantly, this means the Foundation and its donors will have more dollars available for current and future grantmaking.
Through this partnership, Community Foundation fund holders have access to complex investments typically not available to individual investors. In addition, the Spider team will provide quarterly written updates and host periodic forums to ensure greater transparency and accessibility for donors invested in the Signature Fund.
We extend our gratitude to the entire team at Spider Management Company for their desire to continue building philanthropy for our community. Thank you to Rob Blandford, immediate past Chief Investment Officer (“CIO”) of Spider, who has been a steady friend and steward to the Foundation since our partnership began in 2008. His successor, Will McLean, who previously managed Northwestern’s University $12B endowment and has family ties to Richmond, joined Spider in January 2021. He was immediately engaged in the RFP process, thereby serving as a key partner in reimagining our partnership. Will’s previous involvement on the Board of the University of Richmond and its Investment Committee enabled him to be a catalyst in assessing and enacting positive changes.
“The Community Foundation has been a key partner to Spider Management since inception and I am excited to strengthen this partnership through enhanced investment offerings, deeper community engagement, and a continued focus on generating strong returns. I look forward to leveraging not only the investment expertise of Spider’s team, but also the deep resources of the University of Richmond, to increase our collective impact on the Richmond community.”
Will McLean, President & CIO, Spider Management Company
In 2020, Spider reported strong investment performance, which exceeded 20% and outpaced community foundation peers of similar size. The 10-year performance, net of all fees, was 8.57%. This positively compares to a 70/30 benchmark (70% MSCI AC World/30% Barclay’s US Aggregate) of 7.75%, which does not include fees. In a critical moment for our community, Spider’s performance helped increase grantmaking and strengthened the region’s ability to recover and rebound from adverse effects of the pandemic.
Learn more about the Signature Fund option
The Greater Richmond region and communities across the nation are confronting two crises during 2020: the COVID-19 global pandemic that continues to disproportionately impact people of color; and an awakening of systemic racism that has afflicted our country since its founding. This moment in our history has caused the local philanthropic sector to act with greater urgency to find collaborative and innovative ways to solve complex issues related to racial equity and social justice. There is a desire to drive charitable investments to core issues and root causes, as well as to connect historically disjointed services.
This summer, leaders from two of the region’s Black Giving Circles - SisterFund and Ujima Legacy Fund - came together with the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond to launch the Amandla Fund for Social and Racial Justice. Pronounced “ah-MOND-la,” the fund derives its name from the word for "power and strength” and was a popular rallying cry in the days of resistance against apartheid in South Africa. The Amandla Fund is the first collaborative, Black-led endowment in Greater Richmond on target to mobilize long-term investments to strengthen the Black community and work towards racial justice on a local scale.
“Community foundations are at the center of charitably-minded individuals, nonprofit partners, policymakers and business leaders,” shares Dr. Pamela Royal, the Community Foundation’s first African American board chair. “We have a responsibility to use this position to build, connect and leverage diverse sectors, voices, and organizations to harness collective influence that can create long-term, sustainable change.”
“During 2021, we will focus on donor outreach and engagement to meet our overall funding goals, building the new fund’s organizational infrastructure and finalizing strategic investment priorities,” said Evette Roots, who serves on the leadership committee of the Amandla Fund. “As new donors join this network, we are eager to use our extraordinary combination of financial and human capital to evolve the landscape of philanthropy. With intention and persistence, we will invest in ways that will empower the Black community while creating more equitable systems that will result in greater access to opportunities across the region."
As part of Altria’s initial $5-million commitment in 2020 to address systemic racism faced by Black Americans and advance social and economic equity, the company contributed $500,000 to the Fund. “This is a new investment area for us. We will listen and learn from local organizations and leaders to support meaningful solutions,” said Jennifer Hunter, Senior Vice President, Corporate Citizenship, Altria Client Services. “The Amandla Fund brings more and different community voices to the decisions driving community change, and this is an important shift in building a stronger, more inclusive Richmond.”
The Community Foundation and Dominion Energy also contributed $200,000 each, and other corporate groups and individual donors gave $100,000 to reach an initial investment goal of $1 million. “This initiative will help promote community reconciliation and rebuilding and make a real difference in the communities we serve,” said Ed Baine, president of Dominion Energy Virginia. “We recognize how much more work there is to do and are committed to being part of the change taking place.” Right now, the Fund’s leaders aspire to raise $10 million. Companies and individuals are also invited to contribute to the Amandla Fund to help create more equitable possibilities for everyone in our community.
“This is Richmond’s opportunity to demonstrate how to make sustainable investments that address systemic inequities. As the former Capital of the Confederacy, it seems appropriate that we show the way forward,” said Derrick Johnson, also an Amandla Fund committee leader. “We hope all Richmonders will feel compelled to contribute to this Fund as we strive to remove existing barriers and lift up new opportunities so everyone in our community can thrive.”
Richmond City Health District (RCHD) and Chesterfield Health District (CHD) have worked tirelessly at combating the concerning high rates of COVID-19 cases among Latino and Hispanic communities in partnership with the CDC Foundation, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation (RMHF), the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond and a number of local Latino-serving community organizations.
“The pandemic is revealing many disparities in real time,” explains Dr. Alexander P. Samuel, MD, MPH, Director of Chesterfield Health District.
Despite making up only about 6% of Richmond’s population, the Latino community experienced the highest number of positive COVID-19 cases, which hovered around 35% for months. While we’ve seen some improvement, disparities still exist throughout the region. Systemic inequities, such as lack of access to insurance coverage and stigmatization of documentation status, impacted many Latinos’/Hispanics’ ability to access lifesaving healthcare. Additionally, transmission of COVID-19 within Latino and Hispanic communities is high in part because of an over-representation in high risk employment industries. Multi-generational living, a cultural factor that typically has positive financial and resiliency benefits, is not ideal for curbing the spread of COVID-19.
The disparities in Richmond and Chesterfield rang an alarm. With additional guidance and support from CDC, the CDC Foundation, and RMHF, RCHD and La Casa de Salud have built a team of mostly bilingual and bicultural navigators and community health workers to assist Latino Richmonders in getting connected to resources.
This biculturality is key. “Our team can speak much more authentically and directly to the community,” explains Margo Webb, BSW, MPA, Social Work and Navigation Supervisor, “they can speak from a place of lived experience.”
Thus far, navigators and community health workers have connected directly with more than 15% of Richmond’s COVID-positive Latino population, offering comprehensive and individualized support. Beyond hiring a team to provide support, education, and navigation to Latino communities, funds have also been used to provide direct rent, utility, and food assistance. For many, a two-week quarantine would be impossible without these resources.
Another critical aspect of the success of the collaboration is intentionally partnering with organizations that have built community awareness and trust. “Sacred Heart Center has worked in solidarity with and for Richmond’s Latino and Hispanic communities for years,” says Tanya Gonzalez, Executive Director of Sacred Heart Center, “partners have turned to us during the COVID-19 pandemic because of our deep trusting relationships with community members, and we are grateful to have the opportunity to respond.”
“Richmond’s Latino and Hispanic residents are a significant and growing part of this diverse city, and they’ve been disproportionately and unjustly impacted by the pandemic,” said Mayor Stoney. “I’m proud that many city agencies, community-based organizations and community leaders have acknowledged this disparity and work diligently every day to mitigate its effects.”
“The additional resources have benefited Latinos and Hispanics regionally. “[Chesterfield Health District] is now better able to acknowledge the systemic challenges and apply newly accessible resources from the public-private partnership to begin addressing them,” shares Dr. Alexander P. Samuel, MD, MPH, Director of Chesterfield Health District.
Through braiding resources from the CDC Foundation, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation, the Community Foundation, Mary Morton Parsons Foundation, Open Society Foundations, Virginia Health Care Foundation, individual donors and the City of Richmond, the project addressing COVID-19 disparities within Latino and Hispanic communities garnered more than $2.2 million in funding.
Scott Blackwell, Chief Community Engagement Officer at the Community Foundation, agrees that collaboration is critical when serving community needs. “The multi-organizational collaboration is at the heart of how we approach things at the Community Foundation,” explains Blackwell, “the more foundations and community-based organizations collaborate, the richer the resources we can provide to the communities we serve.”
The innovative and rigorous work conducted by local organizations and leaders also has potential to inform other communities addressing disparities caused or exacerbated by COVID-19.
“The CDC Foundation in collaboration with organizations in the community and local leadership provided resources to meet a number of COVID-19 needs for the Latino community during the pandemic,” said Dr. Judy Monroe, MD, president and CEO of the CDC Foundation. “During this process we established several best practices that can be shared with other communities across the country. Every community is unique but developing innovative multi-sectoral partnerships and investing in local community leaders and experts are pillars that can be used in a variety of settings.”
Dr. Danny Avula, M.D., M.P.H., Director of Richmond and Henrico Health Districts affirms the support has benefited Latino communities, but cautions that COVID-19 remains an impending threat.
“The coordinated efforts have absolutely helped limit transmission of COVID-19 among undocumented communities,” explains Avula, “but COVID-19 is an ongoing threat, and we will need to continue to respond to both the acute medical and longstanding economic challenges Latinos face.”
Indeed, there is still a challenging road ahead in combating COVID-19 within Latino, Hispanic and undocumented communities, but continuing collaboration and utilizing a data-driven approach are some of the best tools at curbing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dr. Deborah Ulmer, Immediate Past Chair, Richmond Memorial Health Foundation: “The work of our partners, including the Richmond City and Chesterfield Health Districts, community-based, grassroots organizations and health safety net organizations, and philanthropy and government, holds great promise to advance health equity and accelerate critical systems change work. We are grateful to all investors who have supported this work.”
To learn more about funded partners, check out this information sheet:
As the new school year begins, Richmond Public Schools is making moves toward a bright year and an even brighter future thanks to a generous grant from the Community Foundation and a partnership with innovative clean energy company Secure Futures Solar. RVA Solar Fund, a component fund of the Community Foundation for a greater Richmond, recently committed the $100,000 award to support a new Sustainability Associate position for RPS, as well as the purchase and installation of energy monitoring systems at selected school sites.
“Achieving excellence means that we must take a long-term approach, collaborate with community partners, and innovate,” said Jason Kamras, RPS Superintendent. “This power purchase agreement, and the generous supporting grant, will help us do all three, while also providing engaging opportunities for teaching and learning with clean energy technology.”
The energy information and control systems will connect with solar panels to be installed in 2019 by Staunton-based Secure Futures with no upfront capital costs to RPS. Under a 20-year power purchase agreement, the company will own and operate the solar arrays on several campuses with a total capacity of 2.59 megawatts, selling 100% of the solar power produced to the school division at a savings.
“We are always interested in connecting donors to organizations and causes that inspire them to give,” said Lisa O'Mara, Community Foundation Vice-President of Donor Engagement. “In this case, we were able to convene donors who expressed interest in growing the understanding and use of solar energy in our region. By exploring the possibilities together and pooling their charitable dollars, their impact will be greater. I know that the donors are excited that their grant will help the school system realize sustainable energy savings and bring additional educational opportunities to students at RPS.”
This initial venture into solar arrays could create more opportunities for clean energy throughout RPS moving forward.
“Our board is committed to upgrading and modernizing our school buildings as outlined in the Facilities Plan,” said Chairman Dawn Page, District 8 School Board representative. “This project will allow us to integrate solar power at some of our schools and study its impact. With a significant number of RPS construction projects on the horizon, this could potentially pave the way for a much more energy efficient and modern RPS facility portfolio, at a long-term savings to the city’s taxpayers.”
District 1 School Board representative, Liz Doerr, who wrote the grant is eager to witness the cost and energy savings that are anticipated from this partnership.
“I am so excited that the School Board voted unanimously to move forward with the RVA Solar Fund and a plan to put solar panels on select Richmond Public Schools, saving the district approximately $2M in energy costs over the next 20 years,” said Doerr. “This is a win-win-win: we save money, we obtain fantastic curriculum and hands-on teaching opportunities in green jobs, and we reduce carbon emissions.”
Learn more about RVA Solar Fund
By Scott Andrews-Weckerly
The Community Foundation is excited to offer a 2020 learning agenda that gives participants relevant skills, supports organizations’ operational excellence, and elevates the day’s most important issues. Here’s a look at what to expect in the first quarter.
On February 4th, we kick off the year with a convening that takes the fear out of data and points nonprofits toward a data-driven mindset. The day’s keynote speaker will be Trina Willard of the Knowledge Advisory Group, who will leave the group affirmed by their organizations’ ability to “own” their story with meaningful data. You will also hear from the Community Foundation’s own Isabel Eljaiek, who has gone from writing grants to working side by side with her nonprofit peers to identify meaningful measures for their own projects. She will take guests through the Foundation’s outlook that data uniquely communicates the impact nonprofit partners make in the community. Michael Parsons of Peter Paul Development Center will follow by sharing his experiences and tips as a frontline practitioner who uses data to refine his practice and boost his agency’s effectiveness every day.
Following a networking lunch, ChildSavers CEO Robert Bolling will offer a C-suite perspective on the ways his agency’s data-driven mindset supports some of Richmond’s most vulnerable youngsters. The day concludes with a speakers’ panel moderated by Robins Foundation’s Tyonka Rimawi, who will remind us all that data is only as important as the ways it supports the wellbeing of actual people. We’re looking forward to such an energizing day, and we can’t wait to welcome nonprofit staff, leaders, and executives.
Next Convening: March 31
The Community Foundation is pleased to hold quarterly nonprofit convenings in 2020, but with an intention to remain nimble and open to emerging needs and topics that are most relevant to our collective work. Please save the date for the next event on March 31st, for which the topic will be announced at a later date.
We are pleased to offer nonprofit staff and leaders a chance to deepen their operational excellence with the following practical courses:
The first quarter of 2020 promises to be one that lifts the work of Richmond’s entire nonprofit system.
RICHMOND, VA – In partnership with The Community Foundation, SisterFund announces that its second annual grant to empower African American women and girls will be awarded to Partnership for the Future. The grant of $20,000 will be used to provide training, enrichment and mentoring for 179 high school girls and college women working to attain their college degrees.
Partnership for the Future provides highly-motivated local high school students from challenging circumstances with the tools and experiences necessary to attain a college degree. In recent years, the program has expanded from real world training and college prep activities while in high school – such as SAT courses, college tours, cultural experiences and paid internships – to include mentoring and support once students enter college. Most participants are from low-income families and are often first to attend college. Partnership for the Future is designed to help young people unlock their full potential by giving them the road map and support to be successful.
“Our membership was particularly impressed by the resourcefulness and collaboration demonstrated by Partnership for the Future,” said Cynthia Newbille, President of the SisterFund. “The program has achieved remarkable results with the support of its dedicated staff, 70 organizational partnerships and a cadre of 200 loyal volunteers. Since 2007, Partnership for the Future has a 100% matriculation rate and 86% of its students have graduated within 6 years or are persisting through college.”
SisterFund represents the collective wisdom, service and philanthropy of 26 African American women leaders who believe they can make a greater difference together than they can alone. While many of its members have chosen professions in service to their community, the giving circle is an opportunity to come together to broaden their collective awareness about issues affecting African American women and girls and to support nonprofits serving this population through education, workforce and leadership development.
Learn more about SisterFund, its membership and grant program by visiting www.sisterfundrva.org or call The Community Foundation at (804) 330-7400.
November 10, 2015
(RICHMOND, VA) – At an awards ceremony held Monday evening, The Community Foundation and the R.E.B. Foundation recognized 34 outstanding public school teachers selected as finalists for the 2015 R.E.B. Awards for Teaching Excellence. Considered among the best in their field, these exceptional instructors demonstrate a sincere passion for teaching while also serving as mentors, coaches and champions for their students. Selected from 102 teachers nominated by students, parents and colleagues, 16 winners and 18 finalists will receive cash grants totaling $185,100.
The R.E.B. Awards provide opportunities for area public school teachers to continue their own love of learning as they pursue adventures of a lifetime. For Evette Cartwright, a 5th grade teacher at G.W. Carver Elementary School in Richmond City, an R.E.B. Award of $11,900 will allow her to travel to Jamaica and Hawaii where she will take a deep dive into science topics covered by the 5th grade SOLs, including geology, oceanography and cultural anthropology.
Brian Letourneau, a history teacher at Hanover High School, goes above and beyond to embrace his students’ learning styles by supporting them on their terms – including late night emails, text reminders, and study sessions at Barnes & Noble. With his award of $11,900, Brian will deepen his understanding of our great nation by visiting the American Presidential Libraries and attending a history education workshop at Stanford University. Brian will share his experiences with students through videos, blogs and pictures of each historical site.
Culinary arts teacher at Chesterfield Technical Center, Sarah Jurewicz, engages her students by weaving art, science, math, reading and economics into her baking lessons. One of her students notes, “Ms. Jurewicz inspires me and challenges me in ways that no teacher has before.” With an award of $12,000, Sarah will explore the purity of ingredients and origins of pastry arts within the countries of Austria, Switzerland and Belgium.
Connected by a desire to make their lessons relevant, all of this year’s R.E.B. award recipients will have a chance to collect real-life experiences, stories and artifacts to refuel their passion for teaching and enhance their ability to bring subject matter to life for their students.
Robert Warren Benway - LC Bird High School (CH) $9,000
To visit the top Maker Spaces in the San Francisco Bay area and attend the international Maker Faire in Singapore; and to visit Cambodia to determine how students can build prosthetics to help the victims of land mine accidents.
Polly Lynne Bosse - Kaechele Elementary School (HE) $11,500
To travel to Hawaii, with a stop in Los Angeles, to gain hands-on experiences and create a multimedia journal of sea animals, marine plants, and island culture.
Mary Victoria Carll - Open High School (RI) $11,800
To travel to Peru and Cuba in order to compare a country that has maintained its historical legacy and cultural and linguistic identities in the face of the 21st century against a country that is just now emerging into the global sphere.
Evette Upshaw Cartwright - G.W. Carver Elementary School (RI) $11,900
To travel to Jamaica and Hawaii to explore the oceanic regions of the East and West Coasts and study geophysical flows, specifically the atmosphere and oceans.
Stephanie Gianni Cochrane - Woolridge Elementary School (CH) $8,200
To travel to the Scottish Lowlands, highlands, and islands seeking inspiration within the landscape, architecture and castles, and the cultural tradition of storytelling.
Teresa Ann Cole - Short Pump Middle School (HE) $12,000
To improve research and writing instruction by traveling to England, France, Germany and Italy to study ancestral culture and history.
Mark Evan Dillon - Bailey Bridge Middle School (CH) $7,400
To experience the Lewis and Clark expedition by retracing their journey from St. Louis, up the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers, over the Continental Divide, down the Columbia River and to the Pacific Ocean.
Pamela M. Hall - Cosby High School (CH) $12,000
To lead her class in a virtual field trip/math project based learning activity that focuses on challenges faced by the youth in Richmond, Hawaii & Haiti; and to attend a National Geographic photo workshop.
Sarah Frances Jurewicz - Chesterfield Technical Center (CH) $12,000
To explore the purity of ingredients and origins of pastry arts within the countries of Austria, Switzerland, and Belgium.
Erik Siegfried Leise - Atlee High School (HA) $11,800
To visit Moscow, St. Petersburg and Paris to compare and contrast the Art Deco Movement and the Russian Constructivist Movement of the Early Modernist Period.
Brian Matthew Letourneau - Hanover High School (HA) $11,900
To create engaging U.S. history instructional materials based on information gleaned from the libraries of recent American presidents, a history education workshop at Stanford, and the International Society for Technology in Education conference.
Lauren Melton Lineweaver - Falling Creek Elementary School (CH) $8,100
To travel within the United States to experience cultural and historical landmarks which celebrate our country’s rich history.
Kelly Ann Pace - Atlee High School (HA) $10,800
To find writing inspiration by completing a street photography course and traveling to five U.S. cities, taking photographs of people and places in each location.
Kristen Mae Reynolds - Clover Hill Elementary School (CH) $9,200
To explore practical applications of student leadership by attending the Leader in Me Leadership Symposium; and to expand knowledge of global partnership/service leadership by touring Heifer International Global Village and working in Haitian communities.
Dawn Chentil Sherwood - Highland Springs High School (HE) $12,000
To travel to Antarctica and Rapa Nui (Easter Island) to photograph wildlife and learn about the effects of climate change and sustainability issues.
Joy Marie Siegel - Shady Grove Elementary School (HE) $12,000
To research historical and current points of view of the English, Irish, Northern Irish, and Scottish about colonization, independence, and cultural adaptations through on-site visits, conversation and dance.
All finalists not chosen for a professional development grant will receive a $750 unrestricted cash grant in recognition of their achievements in the classroom.
Learn how to nominate your favorite teacher
3409 Moore Street
Richmond, VA 23230
P.O. Box 76495
Baltimore, MD 21275-6495
P: (804) 330-7400
F: (804) 330-5992
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