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FEG 2018 COmmunity Foundation survey

Are you involved with a community foundation? If so, we gladly invite you to participate in the 2018 Community Foundation Survey.

Your responses will be kept confidential. Deadline for participation is Friday, March 30, 2018.

For more than 30 years, we have been a trusted partner for community foundations, providing objective investment guidance and advice. As the industry evolves, our clients are demonstrating considerable dexterity in the way they respond. 

The study originated as an in-depth look at spending policies among FEG clients. Given the interest in the results, FEG expanded the survey's scope and participation has been open to all community foundations.

2017 Key Findings

Our annual proprietary Community Foundation Survey was established in 2016 as an outgrowth of our dedication and aims to address issues that are relevant to Community Foundations today. Specific sections covered include spending policy, asset allocation, responsive investing (including SRI/ESG and PRI/MRI), and enterprise trends (donor advised funds fundraising, and governance).


Key findings from our 2017 report include:

  • Smaller investment staffs are the norm as more than 75% of respondents have one or less than one full-time equivalent (FTE) on staff to administer the investment portfolio. Only 20% expect to increase their staffing in the next five years.
  • We saw a shift in respondent sentiment away from alternatives.
  • There were noticeable differences between small and large organizations on a number of topics including use of alternatives.The average allocation to hedge funds was 11%; ranging from 2% for smaller Community Foundations to 15% for larger Community Foundations.
  • While there are a variety of spending rates, the majority of respondents selected either 4%, 5%, or 4.5% with a 4.5% median; however, one fifth of respondents foresee reducing their spending rate in the future.
  • Responsive Investing (RI) talk is big, and more than a quarter of respondents have seen an increase in interest from donors for RI; however while 18% have RI investments, the majority represent less than 1% of the portfolio.


We greatly appreciate the time and energy of those who have participated in the past and look forward to increasing the number of participants and improving the usefulness of the data for community foundations as the survey continues.



The data is obtained from the proprietary FEG 2017 Community Foundation Survey. The study includes a survey of 90 U.S. Community Foundations as of April 7, 2017. The data from this survey was divided into five categories based on assets of the community foundation with assets ranging from less than $25 million to greater than $250 million. The information in this study is based on the responses provided by the participants and is meant for illustration and educational purposes only. Complete disclosures can be found in the report.

Download the Full 2017 Report