Past performance is no guarantee…

I frequently smile when reading financial articles and advertisements that include the requisite qualifier: “past performance is no guarantee of future results.”  My reaction, of course, depends on which “past” I’m recalling.  For the 2007-2008 market nightmare, the response is an earnest “thank goodness,” whilst the recent 2009 -2010 recovery provokes a more irreverent “thank you sir, may I have another.”

Twenty months and more removed from the trough of March 2009, equity markets have made a striking recovery. The broad market S&P 500 Index was up 26% in calendar year 2009 and almost 13% in 2010. 

What will we see in the coming twelve months?  I am hopeful that we will continue to see an improving economy, with the long-awaited pick-up in jobs and the real bottom to the housing and construction markets. The equity markets appear headed for another positive year on continued good corporate health (e.g. cash), improved confidence – both from the consumer and the producer alike, and an improving business climate in Washington. 

Issues do remain that could test the markets in 2011: deficit problems at all levels of government, sovereign debt troubles abroad and a growing specter of inflation (think commodities prices). Though we’d all like to see double-digit equity gains for a third year in a row – all together now – past performance is no guarantee of future results!

Past performance can be a guarantee of future results if you move beyond financial markets, however. Specifically, the past performance of the North Carolina Community Foundation’s team in the area of customer service is a great predictor of future service levels.

The knowledge and dedication of our superb group of regional representatives ensure the highest level of service to our affiliates and donors. The experience and commitment of our headquarters team result in the prompt discharge of such varied assignments as grants administration and processing, gift acknowledgments, accounting processes and the list goes on. 

Ultimately, we can rely on the passion and focus of Foundation leadership – our Board Chair James W. Narron; President and CEO, Jennifer Tolle Whiteside; our statewide directors; and our 60 affiliate boards of advisors across the state. 

For more than twenty years, the Foundation team has endeavored to address a wide variety of needs across the state of North Carolina by identifying and accessing the available resources to meet those needs. In 2011, we pledge to continue to work together to build on those past efforts and guarantee that we will work to delight our constituents with even higher levels of service.