Seattle Foundation Blog

Seattle Foundation Reports a Record 2016

Seattle Foundation had a very strong year in 2016, securing $105 million in gifts from philanthropists that will be invested through strategic philanthropy locally, nationally and internationally. We are grateful for the trust bestowed upon us, in this record year of generosity and remain steadfast in our commitment to helping our partners to achieve greater community impact. Read about our 2016 investment results and more.


January 01, 2017

2016 stats

Seattle Foundation had a very strong year in 2016, bringing in $105 million that will be invested through strategic philanthropy locally, nationally and internationally. This record generosity reflects the impact of the important work we’ve had underway to develop our brand, modernize our services, pricing and investment options, and drive greater community impact.

From an investment perspective, 2016 began with concerns about negative interest rates and global economic weakness but the markets gained momentum in the second half of the year and investment performance became robust, despite unprecedented levels of political turbulence in many countries. Markets were particularly strong in the last few weeks of 2016 as investors reacted positively to then President-Elect Trump’s stated economic intentions, as well as improving economic data from the European Union, China and Japan.

Our largest investment option is our Balanced Pool, which uses a strategic asset allocation to maintain a diversified portfolio. It gained 7.0% for the year ended December 31, 2016. We highlight execution of the investment strategy as a consistent factor for the Balanced Pool outperforming its target benchmark by 50-80 bps (net of fees) over the latest 1, 3, 5 and 7 years. Much of this success is attributable to active management in the equity space, as well as strong performance in alternative asset classes. Our Socially Responsible Pool, designed to meet Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) needs while also providing competitive economic returns, gained 29.0% during the year. This exceptional performance should not be expected annually since this pool is relatively small at $2.5 million and one investment manager had a tremendous year. The Intermediate-Term Pool, designed to meet the expectations of philanthropists with a grant-making horizon in the 2-7 year range, lost -1.2% this quarter as interest rates rose, but gained 3.7% on the year. Lastly, the Foundation manages a Short-Term pool and it gained 0.5% for the year. Our newest offerings, the Index Pool and the Growth Pool, were established in the second half of the year and do not yet have investment results to report.

In November, we realized the benefits of a major investment for Seattle Foundation when we moved into our new headquarters location in Westlake Center. Our new offices, which we share with Global Washington, Seattle International Foundation and SkillUP, provide substantial meeting rooms and drop-in work spaces.  Please visit us during our Open House from 4:00-6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29 and see our new home.

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