Investing for the future

Sandra Richardson is CEO of the Victoria Foundation.
This column originally appeared in the Times Colonist Islander on August 2, 2015.

An organization well-known for its work year-round to build brighter futures for children in need, the CFAX Santas Anonymous Society is taking steps to keep its own future bright, too.

Santas Anonymous is the latest organization to join the more than 100 other charities working with the Victoria Foundation by setting up a “hosted” fund. One of the primary roles of the Victoria Foundation is to assist other charitable organizations, and one of the lesser-known ways we do that is by hosting endowment funds for them. On the surface, it’s a lot like an “investment club,” but the benefits go much further.

Many, if not most, charities take a portion of their fundraising dollars and invest them permanently, only using the proceeds from the investments to fund programs or operations. Sometimes this is done because a donor has requested it, but it’s also just part of a good long term funding plan for any charity. But how to make the most of those funds while avoiding risky investments?

By pooling funds for investment purposes, all of the charities that have hosted funds with the Victoria Foundation typically see an increased return while reducing overall risk. For a charity looking to maximize the investment potential of every donor dollar, this factor alone is often enough to motivate them to set up a hosted fund. When looked at in conjunction with the other benefits, though, it’s easy to see why charities choose this route over setting up and managing an independent endowment fund.

Take the issue of paperwork, for example. For hosted funds, the Victoria Foundation prepares all of the receipts and all of the fund statements, and, if requested, even works with the hosted organization’s board and staff to help grow the fund. Fund statements are prepared quarterly, providing organizations with an up-to-date understanding of the fund’s status and activity.

Then there are the marketing and reputational benefits. Organizations will be partnering with a trusted community foundation that has been successfully connecting people who care with causes that matter for nearly 80 years. Our reputation for donor stewardship, grantmaking and community leadership is second to none.

As an added benefit, all participating organizations qualify to be featured on our Community Knowledge Centre — our online searchable knowledge hub featuring more than 160 local charities making a difference in our communities.

From the Art Gallery to the Zonta Club, all of the organizations with hosted funds at the foundation are enjoying the many advantages of working together for their own benefit — and for the benefit of the region.