Field Notes: The Impossibility of Investing Otherwise

Today in our philanthropy and impact investing mini-roundup: foundations must find ways to align their investments with their values.

In the Stanford Social Innovation Review, impact investing pioneers Cathy Clark, Ben Thornley and Jed Emerson ask, “How long can philanthropic foundations and charities—institutions given life in our tax code to promote justice, equality, education, and other ‘charitable’ purposes and values—not work to find ways to align their investments with their values?” highlighting the Kellogg Foundation as a prime example:

While direct investments in individual enterprises are highly unconventional for an institution of WKKF’s size ($8 billion), the foundation discovered it was an innovative method to align the MDI program with WKKF’s mission, was generally more impactful than fund investments as measured by WKKF’s own programmatic measures, and provided deeper insight into new models of social service delivery.

Judith Rodin of the Rockefeller Foundation was interviewed by Esha Chhabra on Forbes, where she discussed how impact investing isn’t just for affluent investors and the rare risk-hungry foundations:

Essentially, we have to deliver social and environmental impact at scale. At scale, that’s key. And to do that, it requires more capital than what governments and philanthropy have alone. So our effort has really been to unlock capital markets. Plus, the timing is right.  We see a growing number of investors, particularly younger investors who don’t want to wait to achieve their philanthropic goals.

Mission Markets, a financial technology firm specializing in the impact investment space, launched their new website last week to help investors make investments that improve society and protect the environment. (Here’s the story of how it came into being.)

In light of the Council on Foundations’ annual meeting, Rick Cohen of Nonprofit Quarterly heralds the work of standout foundations deserving of more attention.

You might also want to check out this article from Suzanne Biegel at Clearly Social Angels on how to “add some gender lens investing to your portfolio.”

Click here for more quick reads featuring interesting articles on philanthropy and impact investing.

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