In conversation with Daniel Friedman, Chair of The Winnipeg Foundation Investment Committee.
Winnipeg Foundation (WF): What is the purpose of The Foundation’s Investment Committee?
Daniel Friedman (DF): Our primary role is to provide oversight and proper governance over the management of The Foundation’s financial assets, starting with the overall investment strategy through key decision regarding its execution.
WF: How does the committee develop its goals and strategies for effective results?
DF: None of us have a crystal ball that tells us what the markets will do tomorrow, or which stock will go up or down. However, proper processes around investment decisions and a sound risk management framework should, over the long run, allow The Foundation to achieve its investment objectives, and ultimately ensure that we protect the assets we have, while achieving enough growth to allow The Foundation to invest in our community now and, if we do our job well, forever. To achieve this we ask questions, challenge assumptions and take the time before making any meaningful changes to how the funds are invested.
WF: As Chair of the Investment Committee and as a donor, plus considering the volatility of investment markets, can you describe why it is important to protect The Foundation’s endowment fund model to ensure donors’ wishes can be maintained?
DF: The endowment model is unique because it allows donors to leave a legacy that will last far beyond their life, or even the lives of their children and grandchildren. It fits well with the philosophy of sustainability. Therefore, for it to work, we must ensure that we balance between the needs in our community today and the needs of future generations, and do so sustainably. It is a similar philosophy to that of sustainable living and use of natural resources so that future generations are left with a planet that affords them the enjoyment and quality of life that we are benefitting from today.
WF: Can you share with readers how you balance your philanthropic giving between gifts to support the current needs of an organization and creating an endowment fund to address issues which are important to you.
DF: There is no one answer as to how to balance between today and tomorrow. Deciding to allocate to an endowment fund that could otherwise be used today, in effect depriving the present of resources in favour of the future is almost counterintuitive. The route my spouse and I chose was to focus on an endowment, while ensuring that we can still support more immediate needs. But it’s a trade-off, and trade-off decisions are rarely easy to make.
This story is featured in the Spring 2022 issue of our Working Together magazine. Download or view the full issue on our Publications page.