MOUNT VERNON — Management of its asset portfolio is arguably the single-most important duty of The Community Foundation of Mount Vernon and Knox County’s staff and board. The foundation’s role is to invest wisely and preserve asset principal while generating revenue for grants through dividends and gains on investment. In doing so, the foundation refers to its fund assets as a renewable philanthropic resource: Quite literally, each of the 300 funds is a gift that keeps on giving.
In order to allow for the spikes and craters of a sometimes volatile investment market, asset holdings are calculated based on a 12-quarter rolling average. Board policy allows for expenditure of 5 percent of total assets each year, with 4 percent awarded in grants and scholarships. Investment fees are charged annually, and combined with general and administrative costs total about 1 percent of assets.
“Some foundations of our size have five or six employees, and their costs are much higher,” Barone said. “We’re very much aware that our credibility hinges on donors’ desire to see their money spent wisely, and it would be hard to find a foundation with a lower ratio of expenses than ours.”
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