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Investment review process leads to continued partnership with Spider Management Company

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.

Benefits of our continued relationship with Spider Management Company

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.

Spider leadership and its commitment to community

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

Strong performance over 10 years

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

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