Resources & FAQs

We’ve gathered some helpful links for further exploration of topics related to our work and the spheres we operate in.

Quick Facts About Heron

Please ask us questions frequently via social media or by emailing



What is Heron's mission?

Heron was created in 1992 with the mission of helping people and communities help themselves out of poverty. The foundation works with a diverse set of investment strategies focused on fostering economic innovations and practices that lead to long-term economic opportunity and prosperity for all. 

How does Heron operate?

Heron has decided to adopt an alternative operating model to help us better pursue our mission. This approach incorporates several imperatives to ensure that all of our assets –- both financial and non-financial –- are deployed in a manner that helps people help themselves out of poverty. We have employed a variety of tools to operationalize this approach

What strategies does Heron employ to achieve its mission?

In 2011, following a strategic review, we altered our strategy in recognition that the world has changed and so must we. We shifted our investment focus toward enterprises that create reliable income streams for people striving to get out of poverty, or that support the data needs of this kind of investing. We also began changing our operations in order to better deploy all of our assets for mission (including not only financial but also social, intellectual and other forms of capital). Our methods for doing so include having a single team that tracks financial and social outcomes together and also works in collaboration with partners in the field.

What kinds of enterprises are likely to be "investable" for Heron?

Heron uses an array of financial tools to invest in a diverse group of enterprises, including nonprofits, for-profits and government entities. Much of our portfolio is invested indirectly in the public markets, where we work to identify and invest in companies that are doing well for their employees and communities. We naturally spend much more time getting to know our direct debt and equity investees and our enterprise capital grantees, among whom there are more specific trends, such as a strong track record and the ability to have influence beyond their own operations. 

What is your investment process?

Heron's role is a provider of capital to enterprises that further our mission. We invest across the financial spectrum — both directly and indirectly — in public and private debt and equity. By using an array of financial tools, we support a diverse group of enterprises, including nonprofits, for-profits and government entities. Just like for-profit enterprises, nonprofits need equity-like capital to grow. We provide this type of capital directly to nonprofits through Enterprise Capital Grants (ECGs).

Do you believe that there is a trade-off between financial return and social impact?

No. We believe the conventional view that managers and investors must choose between financial return or impact return is erroneous and rewards practices that undermine economic value in the long term. We are working to build the field of impact investing in part by sharing our experiences, outcomes and lessons learned as the field develops.