Growth of the Foundation's Endowment and its Grantmaking
The Foundation was created in 1969 with $273 million in assets following the consolidation of the Avalon Foundation and the Old Dominion Foundation. The assets of the new organization were augmented with additional funds from the estate of Ailsa Mellon Bruce, and, by 1970, the Foundation had assets of $700 million. By 1980, the last year the Foundation received a payout from Ailsa Mellon Bruce's estate, its assets had grown to $880 million. Since 1969 the Foundation has paid out almost $6 billion in grants. Its endowment totaled approximately $6.5 billion at the end of 2018.
The goal in managing the portfolio is to preserve and increase its purchasing power, enabling the Foundation to provide grants in perpetuity. To achieve this goal the Foundation maintains a portfolio that is well diversified across five asset classes with different risk and return characteristics to generate strong long-term returns.
The portfolio must maintain a certain minimum level of liquidity that is sufficient to fund the Foundation's grantmaking activity and ongoing expenses, including capital calls, even during periods of market dislocation.
The chart below shows the Foundation's current long-term asset allocation plan.