A Capital Idea: Total Foundation Asset Management and The Unified Investment Strategy

By James E. Emerson
2002| Working Paper No. 1786

This paper presents the perspective that the purpose of foundations is not simply to engage in grant making, but rather to invest in the creation of social value. The idea is also presented that available foundation assets for supporting this process of social value creation should be viewed as not simply its grant making ability, but its overall investment strategy for both core assets and philanthropic investments. A strategy for achieving maximum social impactThe Unified Investment Strategyis presented, and the implications of that strategy are discussed. The papers appendix includes an extended discussion by two foundation trustees regarding the question of fiduciary responsibility.