Alice Handy, Champion of Nonprofit Investing, Has Died

“She had a genuine calling to serve others and a competitive spirit that defined winning by investment results and service rather than assets under management.”

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Alice Handy, outsourced-CIO pioneer and a major contributor to the field of nonprofit institutional investing, has died.

The founder of $12 billion OCIO provider Investure, Handy served as its CEO and president until 2018, managing capital on behalf of organizations like Dickinson College, the University of Denver, and the Henry Luce Foundation.

Under her watch, these small organizations were regularly able to outperform their peers, posting strong returns that helped to support education and grant-making efforts across the country.

“Alice will be remembered for the widespread impact that she had on many mission-based institutions. She had a genuine calling to serve others and a competitive spirit that defined winning by investment results and service rather than assets under management,” said Bruce Miller, CEO at Investure, via email on Friday. “Alice always focused on the long term, was a trusted steward, and a compassionate leader. She will be dearly missed.”

According to Miller, Handy founded Investure in 2003 with a desire to give more endowments and foundations the opportunity to access the “high caliber” professional management that large-scale institutions were benefiting from.


In 2005, Investure signed its second client, Middlebury College. The $1.5 billion endowment saw the firm evolve, benefiting from Handy’s investment prowess and eventual succession planning.

“We have been most pleased with Investure’s performance in down years,” said David Provost, executive vice president for finance and administration at Middlebury by phone. “She was very sophisticated around what risk they were willing to take for returns.”

According to Provost, Handy and Investure were true partners to Middlebury, allowing the organization to divest from fossil fuels via a new investment structure despite some of its assets being comingled with Investure’s other clients.

“They were a true partner in that,” he said. “It’s the root of who Alice was.” Provost added: “She was professional but she had a very warm side to her. She cared deeply about her clients.”

Handy’s vision for Investure was informed by her work at the University of Virginia. For 29 years, starting in 1974, Handy worked in the university’s investment office, rising through the ranks from investment officer to treasurer, and eventually to president of the University of Virginia Investment Management Company.

According to Miller, Handy delivered “outstanding results for nearly three decades” at UVIMCO.

Kristina Alimard, UVIMCO’s chief operating officer and a twenty-year veteran at the fund, recalls being hired by Handy back in 2003. When Alimard arrived for one of her interviews with Handy, the UVIMCO team was about to head into an all-hands staff meeting.

“She brings me into the staff meeting while I’m waiting for my interview,” Alimard said by phone. “Who does that? And then, get this, she’s walking around barefoot and serving pie that she had made herself from some berries that she had picked . . . I thought, oh my gosh, I’d give my right arm to work here.”

While Alimard enjoyed the family-like atmosphere that Handy had fostered at UVIMCO, she believes that the reputation and portfolio construction Handy built overtime at UVIMCO have been far more impactful. “She created this incredible bedrock of excellence in endowment management,” she said, pointing not only to UVIMCO’s strong returns, but also its partnerships with impressive investment managers as evidence.

Handy was not just a pioneer for OCIO and endowment investing, but also for women in the industry. Smithsonian Institute CIO Amy Chen said via email that Handy “was a role model for many of us women CIOs.”

Alimard added: “I never felt the impact of the glass ceiling in my life. It’s women like Alice Handy who made it so that I didn’t have to feel it.”

Handy’s service to the institutional investment industry extends far beyond her work at Investure and UVIMCO. She has served on numerous boards and investment committees, including the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, The American Friends of the National Gallery London, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the United Way of Greater Charlottesville, and the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation. Handy retired from the MSCI board of directors in 2020 after 11 years.

Chen called Handy an excellent committee member. “Alice was very generous with her knowledge and experience,” she said. “She was always trying to help us make a difference with our investment choices, advising us not to dilute our decisions by making too many small investments, rather concentrate our bets.”

Handy also served as the treasurer of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 1988 to 1990. Her first job after graduating from Connecticut College was as a bond portfolio manager at Travelers Insurance in Hartford, Connecticut.

“Alice Handy was a consequentially important part of the programs and successes of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation over the past 25 years,” said Don King Jr., trustee of the foundation, in a statement. “Her investment acumen applied with common sense and patience was invaluable.”

The Thomas Jefferson Foundation announced the news of Handy’s death on Thursday in a statement. “The entire Monticello team has treasured having her with us,” King added.