Of the new challenges the COVID-19 pandemic has brought upon foundations, working remotely is among the biggest, one foundation executive says.
"Nobody anticipated we'd be working from home for this long," said Chun Lai, chief investment officer of the $4.4 billion Rockefeller Foundation. "The big challenge is making sure nothing drops through the cracks when managing an endowment this big (while working remotely)."
Added Mr. Lai: "Our team's a little stressed out. We're fighting isolation and you can't boost morale by gathering together in person. And there are always some technical issues. But we're handling these the best we can."
Another big challenge? Not being able to travel and meet managers in person.
"Not being able to do our due diligence face-to-face and kick the tires is hard for a manager of managers," Mr. Lai said. "Having our managers over the world who we trust with our money with whom we can only talk via Zoom and BlueJeans and phone calls (is) one thing we had not anticipated. But we're pleasantly surprised that our team's been able to handle this."