Risk, Return and Social Impact: Demystifying the Laws of Mission Investing by U.S. Foundations

Foundations increasingly seek to make investments in alignment with their charitable missions. Such "mission investments" have grown at an annualized rate of more than sixteen percent over the last five years. Confusion remains, however, about the extent to which the relevant laws permit directors or trustees of a foundation to consider mission-related factors, in addition to this paper analyzes the legal considerations applicable to private and community foundations under federal and state laws. We conclude that foundations have considerable latitude to make investments that further their charitable missions,s even if this results in greater risk or lower financial returns.

2015 Heron Financial Statement

Heron's 2015 financial statements.

Building a Foundation for the 21st Century

For over fifty years, the global economy (and that includes the U.S. economy) has felt the effects of three related long-term trends, widely reported and acknowledged. They are: first, a weakening of the pull of place; second, disintermediation; and third, closely related to both, the explosion in the use of information technology, meaning that in labor markets there are more journeymen, no assurance of life employment and a continual evolution of skills needed to make a living.

IRS Form 990 – 2014

Access the foundation's tax return.

Investment Policy Statement [Updated December 2016]

The F.B. Heron Foundation (“Heron”) exists solely to serve a public purpose — in our case, making investments that further the ability of people and communities to move out of poverty and thrive. This purpose guides not only our grant-making, but the use of all of our resources, including investment capital, so that we use them fully to contribute to the reduction of poverty, the widening of opportunity, and the improvement in material and social well-being for disadvantaged people and communities. The Heron investment policy thus reflects our intent to determine the social and financial return on all assets, and to select opportunities for deploying capital, whether as grants or as investments, so as to maximize both kinds of return.

Philanthropy and Pluralism: Diversity That Does Not Divide

A speech by Ambassador James A. Joseph, F.B. Heron Board Member and President Emeritus of the Council on Foundations.

2014 Heron Financial Statement

Heron's 2014 financial statement

IRS Form 990 – 2013

Access the foundation's tax return.

2013 Heron Financial Statement

Heron's 2013 financial statement

Capital, Equity, and Looking at Nonprofits as Enterprises

"Enterprise capital," the nonprofit equivalent of for-profit equity capital, is what fuels an organization's rise to the next level of performance. Here, the author outlines how these "equity-like" capital grants work.