Women Thriving. Colorado Rising.

Gender-Lens Investing

Deepening Donor Impact Through Our Gender-Lens Portfolio

100% of our investable assets align with our gender-lens investment strategies

The Women's Foundation of Colorado uses all forms of capital to achieve our mission. In 2022, we announced a goal to offer donor-advised fundholders something that no other community foundation in Colorado could claim: 100% of our investable assets would meet our gender-lens investment strategies by December 31, 2023. We are proud to announce we reached that goal seven months early - in May 2023. 
With the help of investment manager Syntrinsic Investment Counsel, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s board of trustees determined four gender-lens investment strategies:

  • 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 reached the 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 our 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% in May 2023, WFCO merged 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.


Intentionally considering high-quality investment managers led by women and people of color

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado board recognizes that there are persistent barriers to accessing investment capital for investment firms that are owned and led by women and people who are Black, Latinx, Native American, and Asian.

Indeed, the Knight Foundation reported in September 2021 that only 1.4% of total U.S.-based assets under management is managed by diverse-owned firms.

These barriers exist even when investment managers meet or exceed rigorous due diligence criteria, including performance. The increased challenges due to accessing investment capital hinder wealth building, career progression, job creation, community building, and other forms of economic opportunity. 

Given that WFCO’s mission focuses on gender, racial, and economic equity, WFCO has ensured that the investment committee and its investment advisor intentionally consider high quality investment managers led by women and people of color. We recognize that such firms too frequently are left out of the research process for reasons other than their experience, performance, and quality of their work.

This diligence has enabled the Foundation to reach a point where over 50% of the Foundation’s assets are managed by investment firms in which a third or more of the firm’s ownership or leadership represents women and/or people of color. About 20% of the Foundation’s assets are managed by firms representing meaningful Black, Latinx, Native American, or Asian ownership or leadership.

While the Foundation recognizes that much work remains to make the capital markets more inclusive, we are excited about the steps we have taken and truly appreciate the many donors and stakeholders who share in our commitment to this journey. 


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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