Commonwealth Fund 2010 Treasurer's Report: Assessing and Managing Risk for Foundations

eAlert 1de3e311-5cef-441a-aa1a-7a4d0b36fcaf

<p>In this time of heightened concern about financial risk, many nonprofit and foundations have assigned greater responsibility to their staff and their board's audit committee to undertake regular, thorough reassessments of potential risks. The aim is to develop countermeasures to control risk and prevent, or at least reduce, the harm caused by negative events.</p>
<p>In the Commonwealth Fund's <a href="/publications/publication/2010/dec/commonwealth-fund-treasurers-report-assessing-and-managing-risk">2010 Treasurer's Report</a>, now available for download, Executive Vice President and COO/Treasurer John E. Craig, Jr., discusses how the Fund has been able to improve its capacity to assess risk and identify areas requiring special attention. Since 2006, the Fund has used an enterprise risk management tool to assess the potential risk of negative events, and their potential severity, in 16 domains—ranging from a catastrophic loss in the endowment's market value to activities that undercut the Fund’s standing as a nonpartisan organization.</p>
<p>"The Madoff scandal of 2008 provided another wake-up call to private foundations about the risks that can go undetected in the management of their endowments if investment and audit committees are not experienced, alert, adequately staffed, and committed to best endowment management practices," Craig notes.</p>
<p>In the report, Craig also describes the performance of the Fund’s endowment in fiscal year 2010, outlines the key features of the Fund's current investment strategy, and details the crucial role played by the investment committee in monitoring that strategy. <br /></p>