Over the past decade, the Foundation's low rate of return on
investments has been dismal and embarassing, in part because it
reflects poor choices in the use of donors' money and sets a terrible
example. The ease with which the Foundation can raise funds is simply
not compatible with purchasing 1.5% certificates of deposit on which
bankers easily earn 10% or more that we could earn by cutting out the
banking middlemen. It's time to set a better example.
Please see pages 9 and especially 10 the Audit Report released in October:
In particular, Foundation investments increased from $38 million in
June 2015 to $54 million in 2016, and investment income increased from
$445,000 to $813,000.
1. Why is Foundation, which presumably has the benefit of the most
brilliant volunteer minds in the world, during years of record high
stock market prices, with income so secure that detractors have to beg
every year on this list for fundraising to be halted when it reaches
its goal, only earning 1.5% interest for its donors?
2. Are there any practical reasons not to liquidate 90% of the
Foundation's stock, bond, fund, and REIT investments over the next
quarter and deposit the balance in a top-5 nonprofit foundation
endowment-grade fund? E.g.:
3. How does the Foundation intend to convince donors that the
endowment is a good idea when investment stewardship is so poor?
4. What proportion is invested in fossil fuel interests?
5. Should we divest from fossil fuel interests?
6. Does the Foundation have any strategic investments in sustainable
technologies such as wind and solar power, power-to-gas,
gas-to-liquids, underground compressed air and pumped hydro power
storage, and composite lumber?
7. Should we divest from interests opposed to single payer health care?
8. Should we divest from interests in support of the payroll tax?
9. Should we divest from educational interests which have not shown a
firm commitment to public school class size reduction?
10. Should we divest from interests opposed to increasing public
school teacher salaries?
We can offset mutual fund holding investments in such interests with
short sales (while there is a risk with doing so, that risk can be
completely offset with limit orders.)