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Foundation and Endowment Management Services

Mercer Advisors Acts as a Fiduciary to Your Organization and Helps You Achieve Your Mission

We offer the full spectrum of value-added services which include:

  • Investment management and planning for endowments, capital funds and operating funds
  • Working with non-profit boards on investment policy statements and asset allocation strategy
  • Planning for grants and other distributions; spending policy analysis
  • Board education, particularly with respect to the fiduciary obligations of all parties
  • Analysis of appropriate portfolio approaches, including environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) considerations.

Our commitment to philanthropy is embedded in our culture. Each of our advisors who focus on non-profit foundations have decades of expertise working with foundations and endowments, in addition to working with companies ranging from start-ups to scaled large organizations. Having sat on both sides of the table, they have a deep, thoughtful understanding of the unique problems of non-profit organizations:

Investing For Longevity

Our foundation clients have time horizons extending many decades or even centuries. Rather than focusing on short-term financial market movements, our clients concentrate on their long-term goals and sustainability

Investing to Achieve Your Mission

As with individual investors, there is a natural tendency of many non-profit boards to concentrate on recent financial market performance. We work with our clients to focus on how the organization’s purpose is furthered by the investment and stewardship of its endowment. Donors give money to a non-profit because of its mission. The purpose of foundation investing is to achieve the organization’s ultimate mission and goals

Investing to Minimize Impacts from Market Volatility

In the economic context of a market downturn, non-profits may be subject to three concurrent impacts: (a) a decline in endowment portfolio values; (b) a more challenging development environment, with donors cutting back contributions and prospective donors becoming scarcer; and (c) needs increasing – e.g., grant requests go up in a challenging economy. We work with clients to build portfolios that help plan for and endure the roller coaster of financial market volatility

Provided Within a Focused Fiduciary Framework

Mercer Advisors and the endowment boards and committees we work with are both fiduciaries. We share that responsibility with our clients and strive to make them better at what they do. Meeting the fiduciary duty means a focus on process. Our investment methodology is an academically driven, process-oriented approach that has withstood the ups and downs of market and that can be communicated easily and transparently to all stakeholders.

Our Investment Team

When managing wealth for non-profits, our mission is to help our clients achieve and sustain their spending goals, on an inflation-adjusted basis, in perpetuity. Subsequently, our investment team builds portfolios that aim to maximize long-term expected returns, minimize risks, and to do so at the lowest possible costs. Our investment professionals oversee portfolio design and manager selection. They take a quantitative, factor-based approach to building global portfolios that are carefully diversified both across and within major asset classes. Where appropriate, we also incorporate the use of less liquid, private asset classes such as venture capital/private equity, infrastructure, real estate, and credit.

Meet Members of our Investment Team

Bill Berg

Bill Berg, CFA, CFP®

Sr. Wealth Advisor
Bill founded Sigma Investment Management Company in Portland, Oregon in 1992. As Client Advisor, Bill manages client portfolios and assists clients in meeting their wealth management objectives. Prior to founding Sigma, Bill directed research for a venture capital investment banking firm. He started his career as a corporate and securities attorney with Stoel Rives LLP, a large Portland-based law firm. Bill received undergraduate and graduate degrees in economics from Stanford University and a law degree from Harvard Law School. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM and a CFA.

Don Calcagni Chief Investment Officer Mercer Advisors

Donald Calcagni, CFP®, MBA, MST, QPA

Chief Investment Officer
As Chief Investment Officer, Don’s primary responsibilities include setting the strategic direction of the firm’s investment platform, the prudent stewardship of the firm’s assets under management, and overseeing all investment-related communications. He also chairs the firm’s Investment Committee and oversees all portfolio construction and manager due diligence efforts. His expertise is in the areas of financial mathematics, portfolio management, corporate finance, and taxation. Don earned his MBA from the University of Chicago and his Masters in Taxation from Widener University. Additionally, he earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification from the CFP® Board of Standards, Inc, the QPA designation from the American Society of Pension Professionals and Actuaries, and ERPA designation from the Internal Revenue Service.

Joshua DeForest

Josh DeForest, CFA

Managing Director
Josh began his career in the financial services industry in 2007. As Managing Director, Josh provides his clients with personalized advice to help meet their unique objectives related to financial planning, investment management, and estate planning. A member of Mercer Advisors Investment Committee, Josh evaluates academic research, provides investment analysis, and helps with manager selection for Mercer Advisors clients. Josh graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California with degrees in Economics and Spanish.

Mark Eshman

Mark Eshman

Sr. Wealth Advisor, Director
Prior to joining Mercer Advisors, Mark was Co-Founder, Chairman, and Chief Investment Officer of ClearRock Capital. He began his career in 1982 at Drexel, Burnham, Lambert in Beverly Hills. Mark is passionate about his clients’ financial well-being, working with families and non-profit organizations to ensure their peace of mind. Mark cares deeply about his community and currently serves on the Executive Committees of both HomeRise in San Francisco and The Argyros Performing Arts Center in Ketchum, Idaho. He earned an A.B. from Duke University.

Jack Gilligan

Jack Gilligan

Sr. Wealth Advisor
Jack began his investment career in 2000 as a Financial Analyst at Goldman Sachs & Co. His areas of expertise include investment management, comprehensive wealth management, financial planning, and estate planning. Prior to joining Mercer Advisors, Jack worked at ClearRock Capital for twelve years in various roles, lastly as Director of Research. Outside of the office, Jack enjoys spending time in the beautiful mountains of Idaho with his wife and two children. He graduated from Colgate University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics. Jack is a CFA Charterholder and is a member of the CFA Institute.

Harmon Laurin

Harmon Laurin

Sr. Wealth Advisor, Director
Prior to joining Mercer Advisors, Harmon was the President of Sigma Investment Management Company. He also was a senior vice president for Columbia Management Company (now Columbia Threadneedle), establishing and managing its Private Wealth Services division in Portland, Oregon. Previously he helped create a private asset management program for Fidelity Investments and managed its 13 western states. Harmon is passionate about working with his clients to give them peace of mind in all things financial, many times working with several generations within a family. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University. He also cares a great deal about his community and has worked with many organizations over the years. He currently sits on the boards of Ethos and the Terwilliger Plaza Foundation as well as the advisory board of the MIKE Program.

Henry Lao, CFA

Vice President, Investments
Henry Lao leads the Investment Strategy Group (ISG) and M&A Integration Portfolio Group. His responsibilities include portfolio construction, manager selection, data analytics, and investment research. He oversees the implementation of the investment strategies and regularly meets with clients to provide market insights. Henry serves on the firm’s Investment Advisory Committee. He has substantial expertise in the areas of portfolio management, financial modeling, and investment operations. Previously, Henry led the trading desk and fixed income management for Mercer Advisors. He is a graduate of the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he earned a degree in Business Economics. He is also a CFA Charterholder and a member of the CFA Society Colorado.

Paul Seidman

Paul Seidman, CFP®</sup, CRPC®

Senior Vice President, Institutional Sales
Paul began his career in the financial services industry in 2003. Prior to joining Mercer Advisors, he was president at Empowerment Financial Group and a senior vice president at Alpha Cubed Investments. He was a high school football coach for 19 seasons and his foundation is built on teamwork and working together to achieve our client’s goals. Paul graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, Finance major with an emphasis on portfolio management.

Mark J. Smith

Mark J. Smith, CFP®, CPA/PFS,CIMA®

Sr. Wealth Advisor, Director
Mark joined Mercer Advisors in 2020 as manager of the Denver Tech Center branch. He brings 35+ years of industry experience and a foundation of philanthropic work. Mark founded M.J. Smith & Associates in 1983 with one overarching goal: helping people. He built a nationally recognized independent RIA firm with a team of professionals dedicated to helping four generations of clients achieve their financial dreams. For over a decade, Mark was recognized as one of the top financial advisors in America by Barron’s and was awarded multiple top advisor recognitions in Forbes and Financial Times. Mark graduated from the University of Iowa with an accounting degree. He earned his CPA designation with a specialization in taxation. After working as a senior tax specialist at Deloitte, Mark earned the CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNERTM certification. Mark serves on the boards of the Kempe Foundation and the Salvation Army Intermountain Division. He is a past member of the Colorado Society of CPAs Board of Directors as well as a past president of the Educational Foundation of the Colorado Society of CPAs.

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