Investor alliance – Focus on donors

By Todd Cohen

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – To help boost charitable giving, the Foundation for the Carolinas in Charlotte has launched a new initiative in partnership with 13 investment management firms.

Twenty donors already have signed up for the initiative, known as the Investment Alliance, with the financial firms managing the investment of donors’ charitable assets and the foundation providing philanthropic advice.

Formation of the alliance by the foundation, which has more than $250 million in assets, reflects a growing strategy among community foundations throughout the U.S. to find ways to better serve donors in the face of greater competition to invest and help manage their wealth among philanthropies and financial services firms.

Investment firms wanting to join the alliance must oversee charitable assets of at least $1 million and will be screened by foundation’s own investment consultant, Fund Evaluation Group.

The Cincinnati-based firm also will track alliance partners’ performance, providing quarterly reports and comparing their balances to industry benchmarks and peer ratings.

Investment partners that have signed up for the alliance include BB&T, Bank of America, Bragg Financial/Queens Road Securities, CitiFiduciary/Smith Barney, CCB, First Charter Bank, First Union, James M. Myers & Co., Merrill Lynch, Paine Webber, U.S. Trust Co. of North Carolina, Vanguard and Wachovia.

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