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New $3 Billion Foundation Needs a CIO — And, Eventually, Asset Managers

Based in NYC, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation will immediately become one of the nation’s largest foundations.

A new $3.2 billion foundation is setting up in New York City, funded by the Catholic Church’s sale of a nonprofit health plan to a for-profit company. 

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation has appointed a dozen prominent board members and an interim CEO, according to a New York Archdiocese spokesperson. 

The chief investment officer job remains open. Mother Cabrini’s leadership plans to conduct a full search for its inaugural portfolio chief, someone familiar with the situation said, and has retained an executive recruiting firm to assist. 

Rumors of the role have sparked much interest in investor circles due to several factors. Foremost, Mother Cabrini’s $3.2 billion asset base is in cash. Whomever leads the fund gets to build a portfolio from scratch, rather than inheriting a predecessor’s asset allocation and manager roster. Likewise for the investment team, which Mother Cabrini’s CIO will be responsible for hiring. 

Foundations typically compensate well — a similar CIO role at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation paid close to $1 million in 2016, the year it was established, IRS filings show. 

Finally, the New York City location likewise appeals to many investors. (As of a few weeks ago, the Archdiocese’s spokesperson said he did not believe office space had been secured yet.) 

Board chair and Visa CEO Al Kelly is expected to lead Mother Cabrini’s chief investment officer search committee.

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Mother Cabrini’s other board members reportedly include former New York Stock Exchange president Catherine Kinney, who also chairs the Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York; Morgan Stanley vice chairman for wealth management Carla Harris; Goya Foods CEO Robert Unanue; hospital system president and Ascension health organization executive Kathryn Connerton; and Stanley Grayson, a former leader at investment bank M.R. Beal & Co.

The foundation will provide up to $150 million in annual grants, according to Ascension’s June announcement of Connerton’s board seat. Its activities “will focus on improving the health and well-being of poor and underserved New Yorkers across all parts of the state, including immigrant and other marginalized communities.”

Mother Cabrini’s $3.2 billion would make it one of the 25 largest grant-making foundations in the country, according to National Philanthropic Trust figures. It will be the largest focused solely on New York State, Ascension said.

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