Investments & Finances

Investments Background and Philosophy

Our Background

The David and Lucile Packard Foundation was founded in 1964 by David Packard, co-founder of the Hewlett-Packard Company, and his wife Lucile Salter Packard. The Foundation is dedicated to improving the lives of children, enabling the creative pursuit of science, advancing reproductive health, and conserving and restoring the earth’s natural systems. More info on the Foundation’s programs can be found at www.packard.org.

The Foundation remained a small family foundation for over three decades. When Mr. Packard died in 1996, he left the bulk of his estate to the Foundation in the form of Hewlett-Packard Company stock. In 1999, when HP spun off its measurement and components businesses as Agilent Technologies, the Foundation held a two-stock portfolio. In 2003, after experiencing the volatility of the tech boom and bust, the Board of Trustees authorized the diversification of the portfolio and moved toward a liquid portfolio of stock index funds and bonds, while it evaluated possible next steps. In November 2007, the Foundation hired its first Chief Investment Officer, John Moehling, to recruit an investment team and build out an institutional-quality portfolio.

Today, the Foundation’s endowment is managed externally by a select group of talented investment partners who have the discretion with no screens, to invest in ways that maximize the growth of our endowment so we can make grants to as many effective people and organizations as possible across our program areas.

Our Philosophy

We believe that great investments begin with great people. Our strategy is to build strong partnerships with a select group of talented investment partners around the world. While our partners vary in terms of strategy, degree of specialization, and level of experience, they share common characteristics: passion, integrity, and strong investment judgment. We see partnership as a two-way street, and aim to be stable, engaged, and responsive limited partners.

The Foundation’s mission and time horizon enable us to be long-term investors. We see having a long time horizon as a competitive advantage, and seek patient partners who share our view. We recognize that volatility may present interesting buying and selling opportunities. We do thorough work to develop confidence in our partners up front, with the intention of sustaining lasting relationships.

We value deep, bottom-up, fundamental research because we believe it can lead to differentiated insights and conviction. We look to partner with independent thinkers who perform exhaustive and creative research. We are not macro investors.

We are opportunistic, flexible investors. We don’t invest to check boxes or to fill quotas. We invest with people who optimize reward versus risk, and acknowledge that the best opportunities may manifest themselves in different forms. We believe the best way to build a portfolio is to allow ideas to originate from the bottom up, not to impose them from the top down.

We build conviction based on high-quality research, enabling us to take concentrated positions in our portfolio, and limiting turnover where it is not necessary. We hope that our partners will do the same.

We seek aligned incentives with our partners. We prefer to work with managers who are independently owned, focused on investment excellence first over asset size growth and product proliferation, and who are meaningful investors in their own funds.

We have a small team pursuing a generalist model with a collaborative approach. We strive to avoid having siloes in our portfolio and on our team. Every investment we make gets compared against every other, and is subject to review by a team of people with diverse backgrounds and viewpoints. We believe that this approach will lead to a more concentrated portfolio, greater institutional knowledge, and deeper relationships with our partners.

We strive for intellectual honesty and meritocracy in our process. We foster a culture in which independent thinking is valued and the best ideas can prevail, regardless of their origin.

For more about the investments team, please see the staff page. This information is also available as a PDF.