Baltimore, MD — As part of a commitment to diversity and inclusion, the Walters Art Museum has launched a new initiative to hire diverse-owned investment firms to manage a portion of the Walters’ endowment portfolio, which is valued at $116 million. The Investment Committee of the Walters led the initiative, which was strongly supported by the museum’s Board of Trustees.

“I am excited that the Walters has been able to take this critical step in aligning investment policy with inclusive practices and excellence in performance,” said Board President Ellen Bernard. “We made it a priority to engage more minority and women-owned investment management firms. “By doing this, we are adding a group of high performing managers to the Walters’ investment portfolio.”

The Walters used an objective process to identify the best-in-class independent money managers to oversee a portion of the funds. In partnership with the museum’s investment consultant, Marquette Associates, the Walters’ Investment Committee selected four diverse-owned firms that consistently outperformed their respective asset-class benchmarks over a one, three, five and 10 year period.

  • Brown Capital Management, a Baltimore firm with more than $7 billion in assets under management (AUM), was selected to manage a portion of the portfolio assets allocated to International  Equity. Brown Capital’s International Equity Fund Investor Class is rated five-star (highest rating) by Morningstar, Inc.;
  • Channing Capital, based in Chicago, Illinois, has a noted record of investing in         U.S.- based small-to-medium-sized undervalued companies. With over $2.5 billion in AUM, this boutique investment firm has consistently generated a return on its small cap value service in excess of 200 basis points (net of fees) over its benchmark during the  short- and intermediate-term, and since inception;
  • Elizabeth Park Capital Management, located in Cleveland, Ohio, is an equity hedge fund manager focused on small/mid-cap banks and thrifts and select mortgage real estate investment trusts. Since 2008, Elizabeth Park has been a consistent top quintile, risk-adjusted performer among similar U.S. bank-focused funds; and
  • Garcia Hamilton & Associates, a Houston, Texas-based high quality domestic fixed income firm with more than $7 billion in AUM, was named 2010 Core Fixed Income Manager of the Year by Emerging Manager Monthly, Intermediate-Term Fixed Income Manager of the Year for 2014 and Fixed Income Intermediate – Term Manager of the Year 2015 and 2016 by Institutional Investor magazine.

“We hope to create a ripple effect in the arts community in Baltimore and nationally in the art museum field, encouraging other non-profit organizations to hire diverse-owned firms to manage their endowment portfolios,” said Julia Marciari-Alexander, Andrea B. and John H. Laporte Director of the Walters Art Museum. “Together we can transform our institutions and communities and build a more diverse and inclusive economy.”

Walters’ Strategic Plan

Diversity and inclusiveness are guiding principles in the Walters’ new Strategic Plan and the museum has prioritized integrating diversity into all aspects of the organization’s operation. Key initiatives include:

  • Forging new strategic partnerships with anchor institutions in Baltimore, such as Morgan State University and UMBC, that catalyze change in the community;
  • Mentoring and hosting fellows from local and national programs and expanding the  internship program to foster diversity in the next generation of museum professionals;
  • Partnering with local community groups and organizations on joint programming that  invites dialogue around important social and civic issues; and
  • Supporting initiatives like OneBaltimore, a public-private partnership formed in May 2015 to facilitate opportunities for the city’s children, families, and neighborhoods and to promote collaboration for transformative change in the city.

“The Walters Art Museum has demonstrated that there is an opportunity and responsibility for local institutions to support diversity at all levels of the economic strata,” said Michael Cryor, executive director of OneBaltimore. “During the difficult moments of last year’s unrest, we needed the Walter’s to help lead the arts institutions in productive service. Julia was there and made it happen.”

About the Walters Art Museum
The Walters Art Museum, located in downtown Baltimore’s historic Mount Vernon Cultural District at North Charles and Centre Streets, is free and open to the public. At the time of his death in 1931, museum founder Henry Walters left his entire collection of art to the city of Baltimore. Its collection includes ancient art, medieval art and manuscripts, decorative objects, Asian art, and Old Master and 19th-century paintings. The Museum Store offers distinctive gifts, jewelry and books based on the museum’s collections.

Free admission to the Walters Art Museum is made possible by the combined generosity of individual members, friends and benefactors, foundations, corporations, and grants from the City of Baltimore, Maryland State Arts Council, Citizens of Baltimore County, and Howard County Government and Howard County Arts Council.