Marion Community Foundation recently hosted a meeting with local investment managers to present its new Investment and Spending Policies. According to Dean Jacob, President and CEO, it was an opportunity to dialogue with the Foundation’s local financial professionals about the Foundation’s investment needs and goals.
Generous people of Marion have donated to create charitable funds at Marion Community Foundation since 1998. In that time, Marion Community Foundation has returned more than $10 million in community grants and scholarships, utilizing the investment services of five Marion area firms to support its 200+ charitable funds. These include Dan Wigton and Campbell Financial Group of Stifel Nicolaus; the Vincent Fogle Olson Group of Merrill Lynch; the Dixon Group of Wells Fargo Advisors; Ron Scharer of Whetstone Financial; and, Lehman Capital Management Group of Ameriprise Financial. Each firm manages a portion of Marion Community Foundation’s $39 million portfolio.
Oversight of the Foundation’s investments is coordinated by the independent institutional and wealth advisory firm Hartland & Co. Managing director Douglas J. Lukcso is contracted as Marion Community Foundation’s Chief Investment officer. Hartland’s Lukcso provides the Foundation with policy review, development and compliance, risk analysis, asset allocation, investment partner search and selection, and financial monitoring services.
“Since its inception, Marion Community Foundation has had a very intentional investment strategy,” said Megan Queen, chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “Over the past several months, we have reviewed that strategy in depth and revised our formal Investment Policy to both adapt to prevailing market conditions and chart a solid, long-term plan.”
It was this new Investment Policy that Marion Community Foundation was unveiling for its financial professionals. The new policies refined asset allocation and goals for the Foundation’s investments.
“At Marion Community Foundation, our slogan is ‘For You. For Marion. Forever;’ and, we take ‘forever’ very seriously,” said Jacob. “Our endowment funds are, by their very nature, meant to last forever. Our investment strategies, likewise, are diverse, long-term and require steady returns. We have to delicately balance a donor’s desire of a perpetual legacy with the same donor’s objective for Marion Community Foundation to make annual charitable grants from the endowment fund. That balance requires much expertise and a prudent investment policy.”
Queen is Vice President/Senior Insurance Analyst for the Irrevocable Life Insurance Trust Asset Review Team at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. She is a second term board member at Marion Community Foundation and has served as chair of the Investment Committee since 2011. Under her guidance, the Investment Committee reviewed and updated asset allocation goals for the Foundation according to best practices of the financial industry.
“We are thinking long-term while providing the greatest returns to meet the Foundation’s goals for its annual grant-making and scholarship awards,” said Queen. “Meeting with our financial advisors—local professionals who understand the needs of Marion, Ohio—helps us tap their collective minds, ensure we are all on the same page, and utilize their professional management to get the best return on investment.”
According to Jacob, the event provided an opportunity for good dialogue and team-building with the financial advisors. Their expertise is valued by the Foundation and local donors, he said.
“Our financial advisors also want our investment plan to succeed for the good of Marion Community Foundation and all of Marion,” said Jacob.
In 2016, Marion Community Foundation awarded more than $250,000 in scholarships from its 68 scholarship funds and expects to announce up to $475,000 in grants to area charities from its 2016 Community Grants Program, which is now in the application review stage.
Jacob said that the Foundation’s philosophy has always been to keep things local; “We have a board of 15 local professionals—business people, attorneys, educators—who live and work in Marion and have the community’s best interest at heart. We extend that same philosophy to the investment professionals we use. They know Marion and they care about its success.”
The local financial professionals in attendance were of a similar mind.
“Giving back to the community via Marion Community Foundation is a priority as we meet with our clients,” said Wigton of Stifel Nicolaus.
Having a formal Investment Policy is one of the benchmarks for the Council on Foundations’ National Standards, a certification Marion Community Foundation has held since 2008. The process of meeting the National Standards for U.S. Community Foundations Program is arduous, even by community foundation standards. The program requires community foundations to document their policies for donor services, investment management, grantmaking, and administration.
Marion Community Foundation is located inside the Stengel True Museum at 504 S. State St. Its offices are open weekdays 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and may be reached by calling 740-387-9704. Information is available online at www.MarionCommunityFoundation.org.