The Threshold Foundation endowment, relatively small though it is, provides us with additional resources to explore and expand our capacities as a foundation and community. Earlier bequests, particularly the large 1985 gift from Jerry Berg, undergirded a strong beginning for a young organization. Since the beginning, all of the investments have been intentionally aligned with Threshold values.
Our investment philosophy has been to balance risk and return when seeking investment opportunities that are consistent with Threshold Foundation’s mission. Diversification is sought when periodically re-evaluating asset allocation due to changing economic conditions and changing values. Sufficient liquidity is maintained to meet the 6% annual payout from the secondary market portion of the portfolio. The endowment began with one PRI and continues with up to 20% of the total in Program Related Investments: typically community based below market loan funds.
Managers and funds for the publicly traded part of the portfolio are selected based on their ability to translate Threshold values, socially responsible values, into appropriate investments successfully. Most recently, those managers and funds have also been chosen based on their response to fossil fuel divestment. Threshold Foundation is a signatory of the Divest Invest initiative.
Threshold Foundation believes in the responsibility of shareholders, particularly tax exempt investors, to uphold shareholder democracy. In addition, Threshold Foundation has participated in limited shareholder
activism such as urging banks financing climate changing pipelines to stop doing so.
The time weighted rate of return net of fees for 2016 for the entire endowment was 7.12% for a portfolio of somewhat less than $3 million.
Program Related Investments:
Cooperative Fund of New England
HOPE Enterprise Corporation (formerly Enterprise Corporation of the Delta)
Human/Economic Appalachian Development Inc. Community Loan Fund (HEAD Corp.)
Institute for Community Economics
National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions
New Hampshire Community Development
Opportunity Finance Network
Self-Help Credit Union
Shared Interest (South Africa)
The Loan Fund (formerly NM Community Development Loan Fund)
Partial ownership of 3 funds resulting from E + Co
The endowment also has an account with New Resource Bank of San Francisco
Screened Stocks and Bonds:
Trillium Asset Management: bonds and stocks
Boston Common Asset Management: small cap and international stocks
Parnassus Endeavor Fund
Pax Global Environmental Fund
Note: Some Threshold Foundation members have been and are founders, entrepreneurs, and actors of and in the social investing/impact movement. The endowment has benefitted from their knowledge and that of the Tides Foundation staff. We hope that this provides one model for translating social change values into investments. As with any model, you, the reader, may have different values and financial needs.
What we have done is not intended as investment advice but as inspiration.