Morrill Memorial and Harris Library Investment Committee

Minutes of May 21, 2024 Meeting


Present:  Cindy Stableford, Betsy Ruml, Gretchen Rittenhouse, Kevin Lynch, Rachel Kurland, Rebecca Seibel


The Committee welcomed Kevin Lynch as a new member.


Reviewed and approved minutes of the 1/9/24 meeting, with one change clarifying the original draft sentence: “Cindy noted that the Trustees of Public Funds did 300 basis points better than benchmark but they have a much higher allocation of equities.” The minutes should read “Cindy noted that the Trustees of Public Funds’ portfolio did almost 300 basis points better than the Library’s but that they have a more aggressive growth strategy than the Library and a higher allocation of equities.”  


Report on meeting with Mascoma Wealth Management (MWM)

Betsy and Cindy met with representatives from MWM:  Zuzana Brochu (President), Matt Dattilio (Chief Investment Officer), and Mike Hemingway (Financial Advisor) on 1/31/24.  Key points:

·      The Trustees, rather than MWM, are responsible for achieving the desired returns.  MWM follows the Trustees’ Investment Policy Statement in selecting funds that meet the stated policy goals.  If the Trustees need to achieve different results, then they need to review and change the policy.  

·      The Trustees provide guidance re ESG goals and guidelines and should understand how that affects the desired returns.  MWM discussed ESG and how the goals and guidelines the trustees have provided play into their choice of funds for the Library endowment portfolio.  They also discussed strategies for achieving ESG goals without limiting investment to strictly “ESG” funds.

·      MWM offered to come to a public meeting in Strafford to discuss their role and portfolio strategies for the Library, Trustees of Public Funds, and the Cemetery Commission.  This could also serve to raise awareness of the various publicly managed funds in town and interest potential new members.  Maybe a Saturday in mid-November?  Cindy is working with them to schedule.


Rachel provided an update report for the Library Trustees:

1.     This year’s P&L to date is similar to last – behind budget but projected to have enough funds to cover expenses through the year.

2.     Applying for a grant for roof repair, which is estimated at $30,000.  If they aren’t successful, the Trustees can use funds from the Campbell Fund.  The roof is not actively leaking, so no emergency while this plays out.

3.     The only other significant capital project under consideration is the creation of a better children’s space.  This would require an expansion of the building. The Trustees are not sure that the timing is right to fundraise for this expensive initiative given the impact of other major projects in town.

4.     Cindy noted that along with the Campbell funds there are additional operating funds and some endowment funds that could be available for distribution to the Library, should they be needed.”


Rebecca reported for the Friends:

1.     The Friends have $29,263.74 in assets, including a $15K CD.

2.     They have committed to cover $5-6K in requests from the Library.

3.     The Book Sale is still in flux.  The issue is the disposal of unsold books, since the company that has removed them in the past is not available this year.  


Report from the Chair (Cindy):

1.     Cindy read a lovely thank you card to the Committee from Carol Wilson, on behalf of the Trustees, expressing appreciation for the Committee’s careful oversight of the endowment.

2.     Cindy outlined the results for the endowment funds that are not under MWM management.  The Restricted Funds are now all in a MM account at Mascoma – balance is $18,392.53.  The Library Operating Account CDs and the Campbell Fund total $132,613.55.

3.     The Committee discussed if the timing was right for an audit of the portfolio (actually a review by Town Auditor Nelly Pennington, not a formal contracted audit), since last done in 2017 and it would be good to have one post-transition to MWM.  Rachel noted that some of the government funds the Library is applying for have audit requirements – she will follow up with Nelly regarding what that actually entails for Library and the endowment.  


Betsy reviewed the portfolio position.  The balance under MWM management on 5/13/24 was $452,192.11.  She noted recent gains and that we benefitted from the overall market advancement.  She noted that MWM is doing what we asked them to do.  They’ve needed to make relatively few changes and she and MWM are happy with the performance of a nicely diversified portfolio that is meeting the guidelines set forth.  She and Cindy expressed confidence in the current team at MWM and find them responsive and helpful.  They are particularly pleased with their quarterly market overview, which is high quality and helpful.  Cindy will share the latest with the rest of the Committee.


The meeting was adjourned.  The next meeting date was set for Tuesday, January 21, 2025 at 8AM using Zoom.


Respectfully Submitted,


Gretchen Rittenhouse