Susan Springgate

Ever since the first gift to your Community Foundation – $1,000 from Dr. W.E. Upjohn in 1925 – we have been stewards of that donation and the thousands of others that have followed. The endowment, which has grown to more than $426 million, has provided grants to the community totaling more than $420 million. We don’t take this stewardship responsibility lightly.

We are committed to maximizing grantmaking and community leadership investments while preserving the purchasing power of each gift. Our investment strategy is one of disciplined asset allocation, regular rebalancing, minimizing fees and expenses, and not reacting to near-term market pressures or new investment fads.

I believe three data points tell this story the best:

  • The Community Foundation’s 10-year annualized investment return, 6.3 percent, places us in the top decile among community foundations nationwide.
  • After 20 years of investing for the highest total return, our funds are retaining purchasing power (i.e. growing with the cost of living).
  • Active management of our funds has resulted in a higher rate of return (0.6 percent annualized) than passive management.

At the end of the day, it is all about making the biggest impact for our community. To keep you abreast of the results, we provide detailed investment performance updates in our annual report, in this quarterly newsletter and on our website.

We think Dr. Upjohn would be pleased with the current status of his $1,000 investment in Kalamazoo County, and we work every day to earn and keep your trust through our commitment to quality and continuous improvement. On behalf of the Community Foundation’s Finance and Administration team, it is an honor to carry out this charge.