Gratitude & Hope: Year End Reflections from Jim Dunn

To our clients, friends, community, board members, and investment managers,

As another year comes to an end, I want to take this moment to express my heartfelt gratitude to each of you as individuals. During recent years, my wrap-up letters have shared a similar sentiment: in times of global turmoil and uncertainty, what we do here at Verger matters more than ever. This remains true in 2023, and each of you plays a special role in giving meaning to our work and bringing life to our mission: To Invest in the Lives of Others.

I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to our exceptional team of investment managers whose dedication and expertise is integral to delivering on our all-weather investment philosophy. Your commitment to excellence and ability to navigate the complexities of today’s investment landscape directly impacts our success, and in turn, the missions and success of the incredible organizations we serve. We are sincerely grateful for the positive impact you've made on our clients this year, as well as the relationships and connections you help us foster. Thank you for your hard work, resilience, and the significant role you play in securing the long-term prosperity and growth of our clients.

I know that the entire Verger team echoes my sentiments, and I am grateful for the collective commitment to serving each other and the non-profits that are so integral to our society. Whether collaborating through team volunteering, facilitating valuable introductions, sourcing essential resources for our clients and partners, or engaging in monthly inclusion-focused initiatives that challenge and unite us, this team authentically embodies our mission. I’ve been proud to witness the team’s ever-present empathy, compassion, and willingness to lend support, and I’m happy to be along for the ride.

It's all connected. The team’s support for each other, our drive and discipline, and our unwavering focus on Verger’s philosophy is what allows us to Protect, Perform, and Provide for our non-profit clients. These three words are our mantra, the lens through which we view our daily work, and the standard by which we evaluate our performance. We’re proud to point out that we’ve remained aligned with this standard during markets’ recent (and sometimes wild) ups and downs. We’ve captured the upside where it was available (this year, and in 2021, for example), protected on the downside when necessary (in 2022, for example), and, through it all, continued to provide critical liquidity to help you, our clients, further your missions. Verger now has the privilege of managing $2.6 billion in assets, and we are grateful to each of our clients for your trust and collaboration. We are also grateful to our board members and investment managers for your service as an extension of our team. Your help to achieve continued evolution and build support networks for mutual growth means a great deal.

If you know our team well, you know we take every opportunity to celebrate seriously, and this year saw some exciting milestones – including adding new clients and continuing to enjoy in-person time together at client events. We were pleased to congratulate Craig Thomas in his new role as CIO, happy to welcome Michael Collins, Miranda Edwards, Thomas Rea, and Scott Clancy to the team, and grateful to Tricia Walker for her volunteer participation in the CFA Institute GIPS Standards for OCIOs Working Group.

The team is also serious about deepening our engagement with the Winston-Salem community – sponsoring community access to the Face to Face Speaker Forum and hosting our year-round Internship Program, for example – and we applaud team member Inge Smith’s recent Winston Under 40 Leadership Award as an acknowledgment of her community-building work in and out of the office. I’m especially proud of how the entire team takes the initiative to give back – organizing group opportunities to volunteer our time and make donations to local non-profits like Crossnore Communities for Children, City With Dwellings, Dress for Success, and most recently our sponsorship of a local family through The Parenting Path Angel Tree. The work of understanding the needs of our community and actively providing resources to make a positive impact is never done, and we will continue to pursue these important goals in the years to come.

So, as we look forward to 2024, and prepare to mark the milestone of Verger’s 10th anniversary, I call upon feelings of hope, humility, and empathy. As I reflect and look forward, I am reminded that, in the complex world we inhabit, recent lessons on these themes must sustain us with the courage to do better – to grow, change, and support each other along the way. We thank you for being a part of our journey, for helping us build Verger’s special culture and community, and for inspiring us to always challenge the status quo.

On behalf of the entire Verger team, I wish you and your families a happy, healthy, and hopeful holiday season.

With gratitude,

JJD Signature

Jim Dunn & the entire Verger Team 


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