Values-Aligned Investing

Introduction

Welcome to the investment-focused section of The Gambrell Foundation’s website. My name is Brittany Priester and I handle all investment-related matters pertaining to the foundation. In my role as the foundation’s Investment Advisor, I implement and manage the foundation’s portfolio, which is a collection of traditional and non-traditional investments. My primary responsibilities include investment policy formation, asset allocation development, manager due diligence and portfolio performance monitoring and reporting, which is fancy speak for saying that I oversee and execute all investment-related aspects of the foundation.

I bring 12 years of investment management experience to the foundation. Prior to exclusively joining the Gambrell team, I was a Portfolio Manager for Maybry McShane Family Offices, a local multi-family office, where I managed assets for family foundations, including The Gambrell Foundation. Before joining Maybry McShane, I was a Family Investment Associate with GenSpring Family Offices, a nationwide multi-family office in Charlotte, where I also managed family foundation investment portfolios. I began my career as an International Investment Analyst at Cambridge Associates, LLC, an institutional investment consulting firm in Washington, DC, where my client base exclusively comprised foundation and endowment investment portfolios.

Brittany Priester

Brittany Priester

Investment Advisor
Contact







Overview of Values-Aligned Investment Framework

The Gambrell Foundation’s proprietary Values-Aligned Investment (“VAI”) framework is portrayed in the accompanying diagram, representing how we view the foundation’s portfolio and categorize the different types of investment holdings. The above summary provides a high-level overview of the foundation’s investing framework.

For a more in-depth explanation, please see the following articles, which are posted at the bottom of this page.


Overview of Values-Aligned Investment Framework

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Charlotte Affordable Housing Bond

November 4, 2020

Last week, I cast my vote, and one of the local items I voted on was the 2020 GO Bond, which is the final installment of a four-bond package for the Charlotte community. NC Voters approved the three previous bond installments in 2014, 2016, and 2018. The 2020 bonds are targeting a total issuance of […]


Community Development Financial Institutions (“CDFIs”)

October 9, 2020

According to the U.S. Department of the Treasury CDFI Fund, CDFIs “share a common goal of expanding economic opportunity in low-income communities by providing access to financial products and services for local residents and businesses.” CDFIs began in the 1880s when the first minority-owned banks focused on low-income areas. Since then, CDFIs have evolved to […]


Wellington’s 2020 Annual Global Impact Report

September 18, 2020

One of the foundation’s impact investments is the Wellington Global Impact Fund, which strives to outperform the broad stock market by investing globally in the equities of companies trying to solve the world’s greatest social and environmental issues. The philosophy behind this fund’s investment strategy is, “the world’s greatest problems present some of the world’s […]


2020 Semi-Annual Performance Recap

August 17, 2020

As of June 30, 2020, the foundation’s primary values-aligned investments (“VAIs”) have generated the following year-to-date returns: Wellington Global Impact Fund (-5.70%) relatively outperformed the MSCI All Country World Index (-7.06%). Charlotte Affordable Housing 5-Year Bond (+5.72%) beat the Bloomberg Barclays 5-Year Municipal Bond Index (+2.18%).   Self-Help Women & Children CDs yield approximately 2%. […]


The Impact of Covid-19 on ESG Investing

July 9, 2020

Deutsche Bank Research (“DB”) published a report on July 1, 2020 that analyzed Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) investing throughout the global pandemic thus far. I’ve highlighted below some of their findings, which I believe are interesting and, in some instances, surprising. The most popular ESG topic at the beginning of 2020 was climate change. […]


2019 Performance Recap

June 26, 2020

An ongoing debate regarding values-aligned investing (“VAI”) is whether or not one must sacrifice financial return in order to generate a positive non-financial return. Our position on this matter is best explained through tangible data points. Please see below for a recap of how the foundation’s unique VAIs performed in 2019. The Wellington Global Impact […]


Recap of SECF’s 50th Annual Meeting



In mid-November, the entire foundation team attended the 50th annual meeting for the Southeastern Council of Foundations (“SECF”). The foundation has been a member of this organization since 2016, and we find the annual meeting especially thought provoking. Below are highlights from the two conference sessions I enjoyed most: Failing Forward: Learning from Failure as […]


Self-Help Credit Union



Recently, within a single week, I received two separate calls, one from a community foundation and another from a family foundation, both based in North Carolina, inquiring how to get started with values-aligned investing (“VAI”). As the volume and frequency of VAI-related conversations increases, it is evident the strategy continues to gain support in the […]


Introduction to Program-Related Investments (“PRIs”)

September 30, 2019

Although PRIs are relatively new to The Gambrell Foundation, The Ford foundation originated the concept in 1968. A PRI is money that leaves the foundation’s corpus, counting towards a private foundation’s 5% annual payout requirement in the year made, and goes into the hands of a non-profit or for-profit entity. The primary distinction between a […]


Closer Look at Values-Aligned Investment Framework

August 30, 2019

As depicted in the below illustration, the foundation’s portfolio is comprised of two overarching buckets: Classic Investments and VAIs.  Classic Investments consist of traditional holdings, such as shares of Google or a U.S. corporate bond, which we only track the financial return.  The second bucket, VAIs, comprises traditional holdings analyzed via an unconventional lens tracking […]


Debunking the Myth that Values-Aligned Investments Forgo Financial Performance

August 1, 2019

Before delving into our unique values-aligned investment (“VAI”) framework and implementation, I would like to summarize and reference additional academic studies, which further dispel the myth that one sacrifices financial return when participating in VAIs.  CFA Institute Research Foundation in collaboration with Swiss Sustainable Finance published the Handbook on Sustainable Investments in 2017, which summarizes […]


Highlights from the 16th Mission Investing Institute hosted by Mission Investors Exchange

July 2, 2019

As previously mentioned, we are members of Mission Investors Exchange, and so I attended their Mission Investing Institute in March 2019, which was extremely informative and altered my mindset in a few ways. For instance, several speakers stated that “all investing is impact investing.” In other words, every investment has an impact, it is a matter […]


Values-Aligned Investing: Forging Our Unique Path

May 17, 2019

As mentioned, a lack of standardization exists within this space. So, we charged our own path and created a proprietary investment framework. The first strategic decision we encountered was whether to take a “lens” or “sleeve” approach when implementing this new investment strategy. A lens approach applies the investment strategy to the entire portfolio; whereas, […]


Values-Aligned Investing: Getting Started

April 6, 2019

As you probably know, Sally Gambrell is the foundation’s President and the only child of the foundation’s founder, Sarah Belk Gambrell. In January 2018, Sally introduced the idea of impact investing to me by plopping The ImpactAssets Handbook for Investors by Jed Emerson on my desk with the directive to “figure it out.” Sally first […]


Values-Aligned Investing: An Introduction

April 4, 2019

Welcome to the investment-focused section of The Gambrell Foundation’s blog. I am Brittany Priester, and I will be your “tour guide” for investment-related matters pertaining to the foundation. In my role as the foundation’s Investment Advisor, I implement and manage the investment portfolio, which is a collection of cash, bonds, stocks, real estate, private equity, […]