Women Thriving. Colorado Rising.

Gender-Lens Investing

Deepening Donor Impact Through Our Gender-Lens Portfolio

100% of our investable assets will align with our gender-lens investment strategies by December 31, 2023

To maximize our ability to use all forms of capital to achieve our mission, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado is deepening our gender-lens investing options for donors. We are proud to announce that by December 31, 2023, we will offer donor-advised fundholders something that no other community foundation in Colorado can claim: 100% of our investable assets will meet our gender-lens investment strategies.
With the help of investment manager Syntrinsic Investment Counsel, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s board of trustees broadened our four gender-lens investment strategies in 2018 to include:

  • Gender mandate strategies (strategies focused on workplace equity, access to capital, and products and services for women)
  • Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) integration
  • Shareholder advocacy
  • Diverse investment managers 

The strategies support our impact goals for gender-lens investments, which are to address gender and racial disparities, expand access to capital, further economic security, and learn and share knowledge.


Our gender-lens investment journey began in 2014 

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado will reach our 100% alignment goal less than 10 years after embarking on our gender-lens investing journey in 2014. That year, Impax Asset Management built the first index of the highest-rated companies in the world for advancing gender-diverse leadership. It introduced the first mutual fund that followed that index, the Pax Ellevate Global Women’s Leadership Fund. WFCO put 1.4% of its investable assets in the fund.
By 2016, the fund exceeded its prospectus benchmark by 1.0%[1] by investing in companies with a greater representation of women on the board of directors and executive management. Consequently, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado increased the gender-lens allocation in its long-term investment portfolio to 5.2% and launched a new 100% gender-lens investment portfolio for donor-advised fundholders and giving circles.
Between 2016 and March 31, 2022, the percentage of The Foundation’s investable assets that met the gender-lens investment strategies grew from 5.2% to 75.1%. Upon reaching 100%, WFCO intends to merge its long-term portfolio and 100% gender-lens investment portfolio.

Timeline of WFCO Gender Lens Investing Journey

[1] Since inception performance from April 22, 2014, through September 30, 2016.


By 2025, at least 25 percent of our investable assets will be invested with diverse managers

The Foundation also has set another investment goal to support its updated strategic framework focused on gender, racial, and economic equity. Inspired by the Association of Black Foundation Executives’ pledge of “25% by 2025,” WFCO's board of trustees voted in November 2021 to invest at least 25% of the investable assets of the total investment portfolio with diverse managers, including women, by 2025. At a minimum, 10% will be invested with managers from under-represented communities of color in the finance industry: Black, Latinx, Native American, and Asian.
In comparison, Knight Foundation reported in September 2021 that only 1.4% of total U.S.-based assets under management is managed by diverse-owned firms and 30 of the top-55 foundations have 16.6% of their endowments invested with diverse-owned firms.
“As the only community foundation in the state focused on gender, racial, and economic equity, it was time to unapologetically integrate all assets of our operation and programs around our goals to ensure the success of our strategic framework,” said Lauren Y. Casteel, president and CEO of The Women’s Foundation. “We are proud to align our money with our mission, and to use all of our available resources to maximize donor impact.”


How to invest in us and with us

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado is home to over 70 donor-advised funds (DAFs). A DAF is a philanthropic tool that allows donors to make charitable contributions, receive an immediate tax benefit, and recommend grants to their favorite nonprofit organizations from the fund over time. Additionally, The Women’s Foundation houses eight giving circles. For questions, email Renee Ferrufino, vice president of development, at reneef@wfco.org.

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