Investment professional and community leader Rukaiyah Adams is leaving Meyer Memorial Trust, arguably the state’s most prominent philanthropic foundation, on Aug. 31 after the eight years as its chief investment officer.
Her departure was first reported by the Portland Business Journal late last week.
“I am forever grateful to have worked as your village capitalist,” she wrote June 9 in an email to staff, adding a smile emoticon to the end of the sentence. “It has been a joy to deliver funding support to incredible organizations throughout the region; this is especially true given that I directly benefited from Meyer’s philanthropy as a kid in Portland at the Girls and Boys Clubs of N/NE Portland and Self Enhancement, Inc.”
“I also directly benefited from Meyer’s grantmaking as an adult with the leadership programs offered by the Coalition of Communities of Color,” her email continues. “And, like most folks in the region, I certainly have said a prayer or two in the quiet spaces at the Japanese Garden and the Grotto. I cannot tell you how deeply ennobling coming full circle has been for my career, for my spirit.”
Her departure comes after the trust’s endowment reached $1 billion last year.
Adams apparently had a conflict with Meyer over her compensation, though it’s not clear whether it’s related to her departure. The PBJ reported that Meyer paid her $764,000 for missing 401(k) matches between 2014 and 2019, as well as a separate payment of $25,000 to avoid other legal claims, according to the trust’s latest financials.
Adams declined to comment further on her departure from Meyer.
She worked to shift Meyer’s investment portfolio to have a positive impact that aligned with the charitable giving from the foundation. WW examined that investment strategy in 2017.
Outside Meyer, Adams founded the Albina Vision Trust, which is seeking to develop the Albina neighborhood, which for decades was afflicted by urban development that displaced Black families. She also has served in a variety of prominent civic roles, including as chair of the Oregon Investment Council and on the board of Oregon Public Broadcasting.