Giving Compass' Take:

• The Caterpillar Foundation is one example of how foundations are going beyond writing a check. Instead, they're forming partnerships and eyeing a return on investments.

• What can we expect to see from impact investing in the next decade? Is impact investing the right fit for your philanthropic future? 

• Learn about the basics of impact investing.

In February, Caterpillar Foundation President Michele L. Sullivan stood atop a hill in Rwanda, nearly 8,000 miles from the comfort of her serene office in Peoria, Illinois. She had come to Rwanda’s Rulindo district to inspect a water-supply-boosting pipeline system that ran 2,000 feet up the hill to send residents clean water. She listened to stories of women whose children were now finally able to go to school instead of collecting water. And when Sullivan heard water gurgling through the pipeline, she was all smiles, knowing the foundation’s money had been put to good use.

Philanthropy used to be, ‘Here’s our check, we know you’ll do good, and away you go.’ But in today’s world, we’re not only going to give you a check, we want to know what you’re doing with it, and how many people will be impacted.

Founded in 1952 as the charitable arm of the global maker of construction and mining equipment Caterpillar Inc., the Caterpillar Foundation has always been interested in giving back to society. While the company focuses on building strong economies through traditional infrastructure—roads, bridges, and access to energy, for example—the Caterpillar Foundation helps build strong communities by bolstering human infrastructure, like basic human needs and access to education.

Read the full article on impact investing at The Atlantic.