Foundations' shift to alternative investments from public equities continues

Analyzing the annual IRS 990-PF forms from the largest U.S. foundations showed their shift from public equities continued in 2011, the latest information available.

The average allocation among 39 foundations, with a total of $133 billion in investments, to “corporate stock” dropped to 33.9% from 38.5% in 2010. The average allocation to fixed income was mostly unchanged. The allocation to “other,” which is typically alternative investments, increased to 57% from 52.3%. In 2008, “other” investments had an average allocation of 44.5%.

The foundations with the largest positive changes in total investment assets were Walton Family Foundation Inc. and Lilly Endowment Inc. The Walton Family Foundation’s assets increased 34.7%, driven mostly by contributions. The Lilly Endowment’s assets increased 18.3%, driven mostly by an increase in Eli Lilly & Co. common stock, which is the foundation’s main investment.

All of the foundation investment data can be found here in the P&I Research Center.