The UW Foundation Board of Directors Investment Committee is responsible for determining the investment policy and selecting investment managers for the endowment pool. Currently, the Foundation Board engages the investment consulting firm of Monticello & Associates of Denver, Colorado. Having professional investment managers helps ensure investment management remains consistent, despite periodic changes in Foundation personnel and UW Foundation Board composition.
UW Foundation staff and board members combine diverse areas of expertise to bring a wealth of financial experience to the management of the foundation's investments. The foundation attempts to achieve a balance between current requirements and future needs-to provide a stable and growing income stream to the University of Wyoming while preserving the purchasing power of the endowment assets.
Funds invested by the foundation include cash, reserve balances, charitable remainder unitrusts and gift annuities, outright gifts, and endowments. Assets managed by the foundation have grown significantly over the years and have allowed donors to support an expanding number of students, faculty, and academic programs during times when many universities have had to cut back.
Now more than ever, well-balanced asset allocations have been shown to consistently perform better over time under varying market conditions, rather than being heavily invested in one or two asset classes or trying to time the market. The UW Foundation portfolio is now fully diversified, and the board continues to proactively manage the assets to balance stability with rate of return.
The use of a sophisticated asset allocation typical of much larger institutions has resulted in more secure foundation holdings that are not unduly influenced by the highs and lows of the equity and bond markets or changes in the political climate.
Currently, the pooled, permanent funds are invested across a broad range of asset classes in 55 funds among 43 different managers.
Target allocations and investment managers are reviewed at least quarterly to ensure objectives are being met, and assets are rebalanced to keep them in line with the target ranges for each asset class.
With Monticello's input, the board hires investment managers whose portfolios fit within the foundation's investment strategy of long-term growth and minimizing risk versus reward. The risk, return, and correlation characteristics of the alternative asset classes provide greater portfolio diversification and stability because of their low correlations to the traditional fixed income and equity asset classes.
But, at the end of the year, the bottom line is not the whole story. This number does not include the many services the UW Foundation provides-such as estate planning and reconnecting the alumni and friends of Wyoming with their university-nor the ways that the foundation actively stewards donors' contributions before they become endowments, including pledges, short-term investments, and real estate.
As of December 31, 2012, the pool of endowed funds totals $337.5 million. Over the years, the UW Foundation's assets, which support the dreams of tomorrow's citizens and leaders, have grown significantly, and that fundraising success stands as a testament to the dedication and generosity of UW's alumni and friends. Their commitment has made UW the envy of many other institutions.
When combined, stewardship and accountability inspire donors and move the University of Wyoming to new levels of private support.