The name Ellen Alberding may not immediately ring a bell. However, the foundation she heads should be familiar to most in the gun culture. The Joyce Foundation is one of the major funding sources for both gun prohibitionist organizations and anti-gun researchers.
Earlier this month, Ms. Alberding was named along with two others as independent directors for the Prudential Investments mutual funds. Mutual funds are required to have a majority of their board of directors from outside the investment organizations.
Ellen S. Alberding, Keith F. Hartstein and James Quinn have been named independent directors for Prudential Investments' open-end mutual fund board of directors. Prudential Investments is the mutual fund business of Prudential Financial, Inc. (NYS: PRU) , offering mutual funds across a range of asset classes and sectors.The release announcing Ms. Alberding's appointment, not surprisingly, said nothing of the work of the Joyce Foundation with regards to gun control. They described the work of the Joyce Foundation as being concerned with educational achievement, air and water quality, and improving access to "high quality" jobs in the Midwest. It is interesting that the work of the Joyce Foundation on "gun violence" (sic) was not mentioned as it is a major recipient of the Foundation's largesse. According to the 2012 Annual Report, the foundation approved $5,351,999 in grants and dispersed $4,817,976 for "gun violence prevention" (sic).
"We look forward to the insight and expertise Ms. Alberding, and Messrs. Hartstein and Quinn will offer as we grow our business, strengthen our fund family and deliver quality solutions that help address the needs of our shareholders," said Stuart Parker, president of Prudential Investments.
Ms. Alberding received a salary of $414,696 plus another $38,957 for benefits according to the foundation's 2011 Form 990. I would expect her to make at least that much in 2013 and probably more. This is a substantial compensation package in anybody's book.
So how much is Prudential Investments and, by extension, holders of their open-end mutual funds paying to have Ms. Alberding serve as one of their independent directors? If the payments made to the independent directors by Prudential in 2012 are any indication, Ms. Alberding will supplement her Joyce Foundation salary with approximately another $200,000 or more.
Prudential Investments has some very good funds. That said, there are a number of other mutual fund companies that also have very good funds. Given that choice, my own money will go to funds that don't have directors who are actively working to curtail my civil rights. What you do with this information is up to you.