Mission Investors Exchange and the Council on Foundations Launch Community Foundation Field Guide to Impact Investing

Tuesday, September 24, 2013
San Diego, CA

Today at the Fall Conference for Community Foundations, Mission Investors Exchange and the Council on Foundations announced the launch of the Community Foundation Field Guide to Impact Investing: Reflections from the Field and Resources for Moving Forward. The Field Guide is a collaborative effort of Mission Investors Exchange, the Council on Foundations, and many impact investing leaders.

The interactive Field Guide takes community foundations through three main stages of the impact investing journey: Learn, Design, and Activate. At each stage, visitors can click on various topics within that stage to learn more about what the topic entails and how other community foundations have approached place-based investing.

Although many resources exist that explain how to invest for both social impact and financial return, the Field Guide is the first comprehensive resource to specifically focus on the needs of a community foundation. Kathy Merchant of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation and Stuart Comstock-Gay of The Vermont Community Foundation, both members of Mission Investors Exchange and the Council on Foundations, recognized the lack of information that addresses the unique attributes and needs of community foundations. Their organizations had discovered the power of impact investing to maximize resources and improve their communities; they wanted to make sure that other community foundations could explore the same opportunities.

Kathy and Stuart serve as the community foundation voices in a working group convened by the Council on Foundations and led by the Council and Mission Investors Exchange over the past year. The Field Guide is a collaborative effort with key contributions from impact investing leaders.

“It has been a delight to work so closely with Mission Investors Exchange to bring together the people and knowledge necessary to launch the first comprehensive resource to move the community foundation field forward in impact investing,” said Vikki Spruill, president and CEO of the Council on Foundations. "We are grateful to Kathy and Stuart for the leadership they have shown, to the working group for their guidance over the year, and to the Field Guide contributors without whom the final product would not have been possible."

“Community foundations are uniquely positioned to incorporate impact investing strategies in their philanthropy. As community leaders, they are able to engage individual and institutional donors as well as the public and private sector to drive solutions at scale. It is a privilege for us to be able to partner with the Council on Foundations and community foundation leaders to support these efforts,” said Peter Berliner, managing director of Mission Investors Exchange.

“It is so important for community foundations to put all of their resources to work, said Kathy Merchant, president and CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. “When combined with traditional grants, impact investments can extend the scope and scale of community impact. They are also attractive to generous and savvy donors who appreciate the leveraging power of recycling charitable capital through a community foundation. I am grateful to the Council on Foundations and Mission Investors Exchange for their partnership in stepping up to create this new field guide for community foundations.”

“Impact investing is another example of how community foundations can provide full service philanthropic support to a community. From philanthropic advising, to grantmaking, to convening, to investing – all are methods for building better communities,” said Stuart Comstock-Gay, president and CEO of The Vermont Community Foundation. “We are very pleased to be part of this effort – and pleased to see the growing interest in impact investing.”

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The Council on Foundations (www.cof.org), formed in 1949, is a nonprofit membership association of grantmaking foundations and corporations. Members of the Council include more than 1,700 independent, operating, community, public and company-sponsored foundations, and corporate giving programs in the United States and abroad. The Council’s mission is to provide the opportunity, leadership, and tools needed by philanthropic organizations to expand, enhance, and sustain their ability to advance the common good.

Mission Investors Exchange is a national network of foundations that brings leadership and resources to the mission investing movement. Mission Investors Exchange serves as a platform for sharing ideas, knowledge, and tools that enable philanthropists to increase the impact of their capital.