Since I became Council president and CEO, I have spent many hours talking with our members and other leaders engaged with philanthropic giving around the country. Many of you shared that the diversity of interests of Council members would be among my biggest challenges. I disagree; I think it’s our biggest asset. Yes, philanthropy often groups itself into categories such as family, independent, community, operating, or corporate grantmakers. But at the core, all of us seek to have an impact in the communities we serve, creating hope and opportunity when neither seems possible.
As the practice of impact investing matures, evolving from a peripheral concept to a mainstream practice, the momentum around this nascent industry is growing. At a time when governments, foundations and donors look to do more with less, impact investing offers a means to generate social and environmental value with the potential for financial returns. However, this opportunity has often been limited by an overall weak capacity on the demand side of the equation and a resulting lack of investment-ready projects. These limitations undermine the impact investment industry’s quest to reach maturity, scale and sustainability.
There are 717 community foundations in the United States making grants of about $4.6 billion in their communities. I know because it’s on the cover of a publication about community foundations.
Our world has become increasingly dependent upon content to attract people’s attention. This content ranges from blogs on the Internet to television shows. Due to global shifts in our economy, economic developers have to work harder to attract companies and individual entrepreneurs. What used to be local efforts to attract job creators from neighboring cities and regions has shifted to competition with states located across the United States and foreign countries.