Morrill Memorial and Harris Library Investment Committee

Minutes of May 19, 2020 Meeting


Present:  Cindy Stableford, Betsy Ruml, Gretchen Rittenhouse, John Hawkins, 

Absent:  Rachel Kurland


Minutes of the 1/14/20 meeting were approved.


Cindy reported for the Friends:

1.    The 2020 July 4thBook Sale and the annual membership drive have been cancelled for this year.  These two events usually bring in about $7,000 ($3,000 sale, $4,000 membership drive).

2.    The Friends would normally donate5% of their account balance(about $800) to the endowment.  We agreed to waive the contribution, so that the Friends can use it to support the library.

3.    The Libraryrolled over its $15,000 CD at ½ of 1%.  The $10,000 CD will mature in November.


Report from the Chair (Cindy):  All transfers/changes approved in January were made: $11K from the Large Cap Index (VLCAX) fund and $3K from the Extended Market Index (VEXAX) fund moved to $7K in the Short-Term Investment Grade (VFSTX) fund and $7K in the Total Bond Index (VBTLX) fund.  


John provided a follow-up to the January discussion regarding removing fossil fuel investments from the portfolio.  He recommends no action at this time solely because the markets are in such chaos. With the caveat that the portfolios have no overlap in funds and their x-rays look very different, he compared the performance of the church’s endowment (which has divested of fossil fuel investments) to the library’s (which has not).  Church is down 7% over the last 6 months, library down 9%. While he emphasized that a one-day look is not necessarily indicative, this is initial evidence that the divestment would not have a big impact on performance.  John still thinks divestment is a good idea “when the waters are calm”.  We will review again in January when we can compare against 12 months of (hopefully!) more normal performance.


Betsy reviewed the portfolio.

1.    Obviously, this is a very volatile time.  We saw 7-9% losses across the funds, with results varying quite a bit from day-to-day. The portfolio diversity and bond component helped with stability., as did our re-balancing back to our fixed-income target in January.

2.    Our equity/FI target is 65/35 but while we are currently at 62/38, Betsy recommends no change at this time because of turmoil and uncertainty in the markets.  

3.    Betsy will do an interim report in mid-September.  If we think action is required at that time, we can meet to re-visit.

The meeting was adjourned. Next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, January 19, 2021 at 9AM at the Library.


Respectfully Submitted,


Gretchen Rittenhouse