With $1.6 billion in assets, the Foundation made grants of $68 million in 2012 for the people of California.
Like many other foundations, Irvine experienced a significant drop in assets due to the unprecedented upheaval in the global financial markets in 2008. But while our assets declined 32 percent in 2008 (after including grants and expenses), our total grantmaking for 2009 was down only 15 percent to $66.3 million. Moreover, this reduction did not affect our core programs of Arts, California Democracy and Youth.
Since 2008, our assets have rebounded somewhat, while our grantmaking has remained stable at about $65 million a year, due largely to the spending formula we use to calculate our annual grants budget. This formula, based on a three-year rolling average of total assets, is designed to smooth out short-term funding fluctuations so that we can plan properly and avoid disruptions in our grantmaking.
We maintain a long-term view with respect to the Foundation’s investments. Our objective is to earn enough through our investments to allow us to spend 5.5 percent of the Foundation’s endowment each year on grants and expenses while also allowing the real value of the endowment to grow.
Our investment program is overseen by a committee of our Board of Directors, and implemented by our Chief Investment Officer and Treasurer. Working together, our board and staff set policies to ensure the prudent investment of Irvine's endowment. We are committed to protecting and maximizing its value to support our mission of expanding opportunity for the people of California.
For more information about Irvine’s investment strategy and asset allocation, please see our latest Annual Performance Report and Letter from the Chief Investment Officer and Treasurer.