The ability of endowment boards and administrators to meet the expectations of donors and beneficiaries depends most heavily on the investment of the donor contributions and the performance of these investments. In Mercer’s 2014 survey of endowments and foundations*, participants were asked about their investment and spending policies, investment performance, practices, and philosophies. The survey indicated that respondents are particularly concerned with their ability to maintain spending, as they feel challenged to earn the investment returns required to do so. Their median asset allocation is shown in the pie chart.
In fact, their concerns are justified. The strong bond returns achieved over the past decade will not be reproduced over the foreseeable future given how low interest rates are.