In 1988, Torrington residents Carlton D. Fyler, a chauffeur, and Jenny R. Fyler, an educator, continued their lifelong interest in supporting the moral, artistic, intellectual, and physical development of children in their community by bequeathing their estate to the Community Foundation.
Over the years, their gift of $1 million has supported their philanthropic goals providing more than $1.4 million in grants to nonprofits that share their vision, while the Carlton D. Fyler, and Jenny R. Fyler Fund balance continues to grow in principal with a balance of $1.9 million to date.
What if there was an easy and effective way to build support for the causes you care about? With the Community Foundation’s help you can maximize the purchasing power of your charitable dollars while simultaneously increasing the dollars you have available to spend. Growing your charitable fund and its capacity to make a difference is central to our work.
The Foundation is uniquely positioned to help you and local nonprofits strategically invest your charitable funds in order to maximize your granting dollars today while preserving and growing permanent philanthropic capital for grants and distributions, forever.
Investment Performance Related to COVID-19
As global markets continue to experience volatility, we want to assure fundholders and nonprofit agency fund partners that the Community Foundation focuses on making investments with an eye toward the long-term and sustaining the well-being of the Northwest Corner.
Our Investment Committee, comprised of local finance professionals, and our Board of Trustees will continue to monitor our investments in the days and weeks ahead. As the situation of COVID-19 change day by day, we are monitoring the performance of the community's endowment which like all economic activity and world markets is experiencing declines. While the performance of our portfolio is down, it is ahead of market benchmarks.
The Community Foundation's return through mid-March is down overall approximately 18.8% as compared to the world equity markets' loss of approximately 29%.
The Community Foundation’s current portfolio has several valuable characteristics to help aid against the market volatility. First, it is well diversified and has a meaningful allocation to hedge funds and high quality bonds, which aids tremendously with the required liquidity to meet our financial obligations to the community without having to sell assets stocks into a panic or for prices that are not reflective of underlying value. Second, the framework and structure of the endowment has a fundamental premise for hiring managers that have differentiated models for investing in strong businesses that are reasonably proced, well-managed and able to weather economic storms.
The following is a special message from A.F. Drew Alden, Community Foundation Senior Vice President for Investments:
Investment Performance Overall
Our record of prudent financial management and strong investment returns distinguishes how we have served you, local nonprofits and our communities for the past 47 years. In 2020, the Foundation’s assets grew to more than $125 million.
Our 10-year net annual corporate return ending December 31, 2019, is 8.5%
During the past twenty years our averaged annualized return has been 8.5% net of investment management fees, an achievement that has consistently placed us ahead of comparatively sized community foundations nationwide.
View our Performance in Relation to Peers ending December 2020.
The Community Foundation invests your fund both for today and for all time. Endowment management and fund stewardship are guided by investment concepts and best practices found in Connecticut and federal law.
Specifically, under the Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act, and Uniform Prudent Investors Act your fund’s purchasing power and available spending rates are maximized through a total return investment approach.
This disciplined approach considers both the income and capital appreciation components of each fund as integral to the strategic overall long term investment philosophy, and better enables us to expect superior investment performance results from our managers.
Investing your fund with those of other like-minded individuals is at the heart of community foundation work. When your charitable fund is pooled together with hundreds of others, its capacity to grow, thrive and achieve the best charitable impact for you substantially increases.
The potential each fund holds for its designated purpose is maximized when the Community Foundation prudently invests the entire collection as one corpus, capitalizing on investment opportunities and economies of scale that are unavailable or cost prohibitive to each fund individually. As the pool of funds increases, so do the benefits for each fund in the pool.
The Community Foundation has several endowment investment relationships in both trust and corporate form including: Bank of America /U.S. Trust, Torrington Savings Bank, Union Savings Bank, Peoples Wealth Management, Merrill Lynch and The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.
Each relationship has a specific place in the overall fiduciary model of the Community Foundation and each manager’s performance is benchmarked against the other managers engaged by the Foundation.
The vast majority of our donor and nonprofit funds are invested through a strategic investment partnership with the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven (The New Haven Pool). Established in 2008, the asset pool and investment portfolio represented by the two foundations is more than $475 million, providing the following benefits to our fund-holders:
- enhanced investment diversification
- measured exposure to new asset classes and alternative investments
- proven investment managers with asset specific expertise
- increased fiduciary oversight and investment consultation
- competitive investment management fees
- historically similar investment philosophy
- higher long term investment returns
In addition, the New Haven Pool benefits from a relationship with Colonial Consulting, L.L.C., a nationally acclaimed New York-based firm that provides evaluation and advisory services to more than seventy foundations and endowments nationally representing $35 billion in assets.
Making sound strategic portfolio decisions using a disciplined asset allocation and manager evaluation process can have profound influence on results.
The New Haven Pool investments are based on a core diversification principle that acknowledges that maximum diversification with minimal correlation across different asset classes will provide optimum and sustainable returns and minimize volatility and risk.
All Foundation investment relationships are guided by the Community Foundation’s Investment Policy, and managers are expected to periodically rebalance target allocations to maintain portfolio equilibrium, increase value and support your charitable spending expectations.
The Community Foundation has an active Board of Directors that is responsible for setting the mission and strategic direction of the organization as well as for the oversight of its finances, operations, and policies. The Foundation’s Board of Directors appoints an Investment Committee that provides complete oversight of the investment of the charitable assets entrusted to the Foundation while remaining accountable to the Board for any investment policy or manager recommendations.
Our Investment Committee
Chairperson: Mr. James A. Thibault, MBA, AWMA, CFP, Managing Partner at Barron Financial Group, LLP; former Global Business Development Manager at the Siemon Company
Mr. Robert Geiger, former general partner at Stolberg Partners, a $170 million middle-market private-equity fund, and former Vice President for Nashua Corporation
Mr. Peter Menikoff, JD, MBA, former Chief Financial Officer of Vlasic Foods International, former President and CEO of CONEMSCO, Inc., and former Executive Vice President and Chief Administrative Officer of TENNECO, Inc.
Mrs. Barbara Millar, former Vice President of Northern Trust International Bank and former Vice President at Citigroup, with positions held in liability management, multi-national and commercial real estate lending
Mr. Keith Mullins, Greenwoods Capital LLC, former head of EIB Technology Group Schroder Salomon Smith Barney Europe, and former Managing Director at Salomon Smith Barney New York
Mr. Lawrence Van Valkenburgh, Former Co-Manager - Trading, Sales and Underwriting at Goldman Sachs & Co., former Portfolio Manager - Institutional Tax Exempt Assets at Goldman Sachs & Co.
Ms. Stacie Weiner, Vice President-Financial Consultant with RBC Wealth Management, former Vice President at Chemical Bank (now JP Morgan Chase), and former Vice President at the United States Trust Company of New York (both located in New York, NY)
Due to the variation associated with investment manager strategies, the Foundation’s Investment Committee has chosen two benchmark indices by which to measure the performance of its investments and investment managers.
1) CPI* + 5.25%
*Consumer Price Index as reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
2) MORNINGSTAR Moderate Allocation
Manager performance will be reviewed by the Committee and compared to other managers as well as to these two indices. Additionally, the Investment Committee will consider, when appropriate, these commonly used indices to evaluate individual asset class performance:
MSCI All Country World
HFRI Fund of Funds
HFRI Equity Hedge
NCREIF Property Barclays Capital Aggregate
Barclays Long Term Treasury
MSCI Emerging Markets
Citigroup World Government Bond
JP Morgan GBI-EM Global Diversified