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Our Investment Approach

The Foundation’s investment strategy seeks to realize strong long-term returns while aligning with our values.

A sound investment strategy is crucial in our work to create an equitable and just Minnesota where all communities and people thrive. Our Investments team seeks to realize strong returns while minimizing volatility, ensuring that the Foundation and our donors are able to support community-led solutions for years to come.

We believe that incorporating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors can meaningfully affect investment performance. In addition to enhancing our ability to generate superior long-term financial returns, the integration of positive ESG and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) measures also leads to better social and environmental outcomes for our donors, our partner foundations, our communities and our planet.

View our investment policy statement.

Our Investment Philosophy

The Foundation aspires to envision an equitable, just and vibrant Minnesota where all communities and people thrive. The Board believes mission aligning the investment portfolio is a critical part of their fiduciary responsibility to and financial success of the Foundation.

To that effect, the Investment Committee (and Staff) shall adhere to the following practices:

  • Investment returns should be sufficient to maintain the Foundation’s spending policy in perpetuity
  • Investments should be aligned, not in conflict, with the Foundation’s grantmaking in the community
  • Investments must be evaluated in line with the Foundation’s purpose in the ways they can/cannot inspire generosity, advocate for equity, and invest in community-led solutions
  • Engagement is critical to changing the institutional investing industry and the Foundation should play a leadership role in this industry

Values-based Investing

In this video, Chief Investment Officer Shannon O’Leary shares how our Investments team pursues investment opportunities that incorporate ESG as well as DEI measurements in their strategy — all while realizing strong returns.

The Responsible Investing Policy guides the Committee on how to align the investment portfolio with the mission and values of the Foundation. The Responsible Investing Policy seeks to further the Foundation’s purpose through mission alignment and incorporating Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (“DEI”) into the investment process.

The intention is to align investments with the Foundation’s mission and values across the investment portfolio, as practicable.

Our Approach to Responsible Investing

Principles for Responsible Investment

The Foundation is a signatory to the Principles for Responsible Investment instituted by the United Nations. UNPRI is an international network of 5,090 signatories from more than 50 countries representing more than $121 trillion in assets under management as of December 31, 2022. We were the first community foundation in the United States to become a UNPRI signatory.

  • Principle 1: We will incorporate ESG issues into investment analysis and decision-making processes.
  • Principle 2: We will be active owners and incorporate ESG issues into our ownership policies and practices.
  • Principle 3: We will seek appropriate disclosure on ESG issues by the entities in which we invest.
  • Principle 4: We will promote acceptance and implementation of the Principles within the investment industry.
  • Principle 5: We will work together to enhance our effectiveness in implementing the Principles.
  • Principle 6: We will each report on our activities and progress towards implementing the Principles.

Meet the Investments Team

Ashley Gam Headshot Ashley Gam

AVP Director of Investments

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Shannon O'Leary headshot Shannon O'Leary

Chief Investment Officer

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Alex Rotenberger Headshot Alex Rotenberger

Senior Investment Analyst

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Kia Safarpour headshot Kiaksar Safarpour

Investment Analyst

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Carrie Jo Short headshot Carrie Jo Short

Director of Community and Impact Investing

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Casey Shultz Headshot Casey Shultz

Director of Community and Impact Investing

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Diana Williams Headshot Diana Williams

Investment Analyst

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Michelle Xiong Headshot Michelle Xiong

Senior Investment Operations Specialist

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Read the Role of Investments 101

The Role of Investments 101

Learn how the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation deploys values-aligned practices to manage our investment portfolio.

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Read Beyond ESG: Sustainable Investment

Beyond ESG: Sustainable Investment

Chief Investment Officer Shannon O’Leary participated in a global panel discussion on sustainable investment trends.

Watch the video
Read Values-based Investing: What It Is and How We Do It

Values-based Investing: What It Is and How We Do It

Chief Investment Officer Shannon O’Leary discusses how the Foundation’s investment strategy promotes equity.

Watch the video
Read Foundation to Join World’s Leading Responsible Investment Proponent

First U.S. Community Foundation to Join World’s Leading Responsible Investment Proponent

The Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation becomes the first U.S. based community foundation signatory to the United Nations Principles for Responsible Investment.

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