“Our technology helps you report on what you’re investing in,” Mr. Lipman said.
Promoting diversity from within
Twenty-six of the top foundations had 13.5 percent of their assets managed by firms owned by women or people of color, according to a report released this week by the Knight Foundation, which supports journalism and equitable communities. But in the investment industry as a whole, only 1 percent of assets are managed by firms owned by women or people of color.
What drove the foundation’s research was a look at its own management structure in 2010. At the time, the foundation, which oversaw $2.3 billion, had only one African-American manager, who oversaw a mere $7.5 million, said Juan J. Martinez, the foundation’s chief financial officer.
“We were very surprised,” Mr. Martinez said. That prompted the foundation to begin asking about the ownership of investment firms as part of its due diligence process. It now has 30 percent of its assets managed by women- and minority-owned firms, and its returns have continued to be strong.
He took issue with the assumption that the foundation was not focused on returns and that the minority- and women-owned firms had lower returns.” The data doesn’t bear that out,” he said.
The Rockefeller Brothers Fund, which has an $1.2 billion endowment, announced this week that it would add grants to address racial justice and democracy. But for the past decade, it has been realigning its assets — including grant making, investments and its reputational capital — with its overall mission.
The Rockefeller fund found that it had come up short on the diversity of investment managers, with just 12.3 percent women or minorities. It has announced it will double that percentage, but has not revealed a timeline.
Beyond investing more in firms owned by minorities, the fund is looking to add firms that have minority leadership and a pipeline of younger leaders. It is also tracking the diversity of the investment portfolio itself, all of which will be published starting at the end of the year.