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We’re launching a new series called “Questions We’re Asking This Week” that catalogs some of the inquiries we’re chasing in order to help people and communities help themselves out of poverty. In our first post, we raise questions about the striking contradictions present in the San Joaquin Valley. 

To convey our mission to our preexisting and prospective managers, Heron has created a Letter of Intent for our fixed income portfolio. 

At Heron, our Portfolio of Work is guided by four strategic pillars: community systems, net contribution, properly capitalizing enterprises, and conscious portfolio construction. We like to say that our “sweet spot” is at the intersection of two or more pillars — ideally all four.

In our role as a capital provider to both nonprofit and for-profit enterprises, we have seen that proper capitalization is an essential ingredient for healthy, resilient enterprises that serve clients, investors, and other stakeholders with excellence over the long haul. 

When Heron declared its intention to invest 100% of its assets for mission, we needed to find new ways to track and visualize the portfolio as it changed over time. Six years later, we want to share where we stumbled in the process, what we have learned from our attempts, and where we are today.

Nuts and Bolts

At Heron, we’re always looking for opportunities to better align our investments with our mission — which sometimes involves investing deliberately in specific geographies. Here is a spectrum of strategies that we look to when we are trying to invest in a specific place.