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.
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
In this video, Chief Operating Officer Nadege Souvenir speaks to Chief Investment Officer Shannon O’Leary about 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
AVP Director of InvestmentsSee More
Chief Investment OfficerSee More
Senior Investment AnalystSee More
Investment AnalystSee More
Director of Community and Impact InvestingSee More
Director of Community & Impact InvestingSee More
Investment AnalystSee More
Senior Investment Operations SpecialistSee More
In the News
Oct. 17, 2023
Investing in Diversity - I So Appreciate You! podcast
Sept. 25, 2023
Why Local Foundations Should Invest in Local Venture Funds - Twin Cities Business
Feb. 14, 2023
Chief Investment Officer Shannon O'Leary ‘Saying It Out Loud’ - SEI Novus Podcast
Dec. 1, 2022
Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation CIO Details How to Build a Socially Considered Portfolio - Markets Group
Aug. 16, 2022
Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation's O'Leary outlines mission-oriented investment themes - Alternatives Watch
July 25, 2022
Saint Paul investment officer focuses on diversity, ESG because it's good for business - Star Tribune
Say It Out Loud, CIO Shannon O’Leary’s irreverent and (often) funny LinkedIn newsletter.
The Role of Investments 101
Learn how the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation deploys values-aligned practices to manage our investment portfolio.Learn More
Beyond ESG: Sustainable Investment
Chief Investment Officer Shannon O’Leary participated in a global panel discussion on sustainable investment trends.Watch the video
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
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.Learn More