If you have responsibility for an endowment fund at your congregation or Unitarian Universalist related organization, you may recognize (and feel deeply about) several objectives:
- To grow the assets of the fund
- To generate income
- To make investments that reflect UU values
Currently, 331 UU congregations and UU-related organizations entrust the management of their investment assets to the UU Common Endowment Fund (the “Fund” or “UUCEF”) – a professionally managed, diversified investment fund, offered by the Unitarian Universalist Association (“UUA”) to manage the assets of congregations, districts and other UU-related organizations (congregations, districts and UU-related organizations are collectively referred to below as “UU Congregations”).
Established in 1962 as a common investment fund, assets of the UUCEF are currently held in US and international equities, domestic and global fixed income securities and other holdings intended to provide broad diversification.
The UUCEF is available for the investment of endowment funds, trust funds, and other assets of UU Congregations that have a long-term investment perspective and the need for income to support their missions.
“The UUCEF’s goals are to provide:
- Growth in the value of invested assets
- Sustainable distributions for congregational support
In order to reach these goals, the UUCEF has the following investment objective: achieve consistent returns within a moderate risk tolerance over the long term, sufficient to allow Congregations to take regular distributions and maintain the value of principal after adjustment for inflation and after all expenses.
It pursues this goal through diversification among asset classes (large cap equities, small cap equities, fixed income, high-yield fixed income, global asset allocation funds, and hedge funds), geography (U.S., international developed markets and emerging markets) and investment managers (the UUCEF currently uses 15 money management firms, each with its own specialty, which are referred to herein as “Investment Manager(s)”).
Investing in the Fund can relieve an organization of the responsibilities of investment management and move that task to professional managers and advisors, whose work is directed and monitored by a team consisting of the UUA Board of Trustees (“Board”), the UUA Investment Committee (“Investment Committee” or “IC”), the UUA Committee on Socially Responsible Investing (“CSRI”) and the UUA staff.
The Fund brings investors an added dimension — an active program of Socially Responsible Investing (“SRI”), which focuses on making investment decisions that reflect UU values and contribute to positive social and environmental change. The Fund’s SRI goals are realized by work in four areas: Shareholder advocacy, proxy voting, community investing and investment screening through stock selection.
As of June 30, 2019, the UUCEF held assets valued at approximately $198 million. About $88 million of that consists of the UUA’s own endowment assets, and the balance represents funds from UU Congregations. Individuals may not invest in the UUCEF.