Private and community foundations reported double-digit returns in 2019 after losses the previous year, according to a report issued Monday by the Council of Foundations and Commonfund.
Private foundations reported an average 2019 return of 17.4% net of fees, up from average losses of 3.5% in 2018, while community foundations reported an average return of 18.2% compared with a loss of 5.3% in 2018.
The returns were the highest since 2009, when the average returns for private and community foundations were 20.5% and 22.1%, respectively, according to the report.
The rebound in 2019 from the previous year also boosted trailing three-year returns, to 9.2% for private foundations and 8.9% for community foundations, vs. 6.1% and 5.6%, respectively, for the previous year.
Trailing 10-year returns declined since the outstanding returns of 2009 were removed from the calculation, the report said. Trailing 10-year returns for private foundations averaged 7.8%, while those for community foundations averaged 7.7%, down from 8.4% and 8.2%, respectively, the previous year.
Both private and community foundations had higher allocations to domestic equities in 2019, rising to 27% and 33%, respectively, from a respective 24% and 30% in 2019. Allocations to alternative strategies dropped to 42% and 23%, respectively, from a respective 46% and 27%.
Both private foundations and community foundations saw slightly higher allocations to international equities. Private foundations' allocations rose to 18% from 17%, while community foundations' allocations rose to 24% from 23%.
Private foundations' allocations to fixed income and short-term securities/cash/other remained steady at 9% and 4%, respectively, in 2019, while community foundations' allocations to fixed income rose slightly to 18% from 17% and the allocations to short-term securities/cash/other dropped to 2% from 4%.
A total of 265 foundations with combined assets of $104.7 billion participated for the report.