Blog: Amplify

Joining the Impact Investing Conversation

This is the first post in an ongoing impact investing series on RE: Philanthropy.

The new vision for the Council on Foundations, as President and CEO Vikki Spruill outlined in her blog post “Relevance + Network + Speed = Impact,” describes exactly how and why the Council is poised to support foundations interested in impact investing.

Impact investing, which we define as investments that intend to produce both financial and social returns, is a tool—like grants, convening, and advocacy—that foundations can use to meet the needs of the communities they serve. While foundations and other investors have made impact investments for decades, many recognize a recent surge of interest. As Vikki wrote, the new Council is a point of connection,  and we will flex our connector muscle and step into the conversation.

Expect to see the Council talking to members to learn more about how and why they are making impact investments. Take a minute to fill out this simple, four-question survey to let us know what your foundation is thinking about impact investing.

Expect the Council to organize provocative conversations that build relationships and break down barriers of communication between foundation investors and intermediaries. Through regional meetings this year, the Council will convene foundations, Community Development Financial Institutions, banks, and other actors that  are willing to have honest conversations about what works—and what doesn’t—when it comes to making impact investments together.

Expect the Council to aggregate resources that demystify the process of impact investing. Already, we have formed a collaborative focused on enabling community foundations to participate through donor advised funds, discretionary assets, or both. We are building relationships with thought leaders and intermediaries to hear what they have to say, and connecting those ideas and resources back to our membership.

This blog post is the first in an ongoing impact investing series on RE: Philanthropy. The goal of this series is to provide an online forum for thoughtful commentary and discussion about the impact investing world as it relates to foundations. If you have an idea that you would like to submit for the blog series, let me know. The next blog post will explore why impact investing alone is not sufficient for creating change.

Many have hypothesized that 2013 will be a big year for impact investing. Whether or not that proves to be the case, we are here to connect you to the impact investing knowledge, leaders, and organizations your foundation needs for success.

Laura Tomasko is curating a conversation about impact investing at the Council on Foundations. Connect with her by e-mailand on Twitter @lauratomasko.

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