Put more of our assets to work for good
Why it’s important to us
As a foundation, our grantmaking is the most obvious way we use our assets for good. Less visible but equally important is how we use non-grant investments to advance our purpose. This is guided by our impact investing approach.
One part of this is how we manage our endowment. We invest our endowment assets to earn money to grant out in communities. As we are trying to earn money, we also want to be intentional about the impact we are having with the investments we make.
Outside of our endowment, we also make non-grant investments that support good work. This includes things like low-interest loans and guarantees and equity investments in social impact ventures. While we don’t expect to make market returns, we do expect the money we put into these program-related investments (PRIs) will come back to us to be reinvested in other efforts. This allows us to meet different kinds of community needs in different ways and to have more impact with those dollars over time.
How we’re doing
In 2021, we set a three-year goal of having at least $100 million in impact investments. These are non-grant investments we make to advance our two impact objectives: making capital markets more equitable and supporting business and community development in our region. As of May 2023, we have $83 million in impact investments. Of this, $54 million are investments in our endowment, and $30 million are program-related investments (PRIs).
Beyond what we define as impact investments, we track what we call “aligned investments.” These are investments in fund managers that are changing investment industry practices in ways that advance our impact objectives. We use the access and influence we have to encourage fund managers to consider changes in how they work — like changing their hiring practices and expanding their sourcing networks — so more people have access to the money they control. While we don’t have a specific goal for aligned investments, we have grown these investments to more than half of our total endowment portfolio.
We are actively sourcing investments to hit our current impact investing goal by May of 2024. At that time, we will set a new impact investing goal.
We have decided to add environmental sustainability as an impact objective and are figuring out how best to incorporate that objective into our portfolio.