Private foundations returned an average of 6.1%, net of fees, for the year ended Dec. 31, well below the 15.6% average for the same period in 2013, the Council on Foundations and the Commonfund Institute reported Thursday.
The lower returns are due primarily to a significant drop in equity investment returns, William Jarvis, managing director and head of research at the Commonfund Institute, told a news conference describing results of the third annual survey conducted jointly by Commonfund and the Council on Foundations.
The average return for domestic equities was 10.4% for the 2014 calendar year vs. 31.8% for 2013, according to a report on the survey, which covered 142 private foundations. The average return for international equities was -0.9% last year compared to a 15.9% gain in 2013.
Among other broad categories, alternative investments provided a 4.4% average return in 2014 vs. 7.3% in 2013. The only category to improve was fixed income, producing a 3.8% average return last year vs. -0.7% in 2013.