What is mission-related investing?

Mission-related investing (MRI), sometimes referred to as "impact investing for foundation endowments," can help foundations invest their for-profit financial assets in a manner that aligns with their charitable mission. Like other investment strategies, it leverages the market for revenue generation, but mission-related investing is a way for an organization to assemble an ecosystem of assets that are intrinsically connected to their mission. This can potentially enhance the efforts of their foundation’s purpose and create deeper impact. Hence the reason that mission-related investing is also referred to as impact investing.

However, not all foundations have an "investable" mission. Philanthropic themes chosen for grantmaking do not always line up with investments in revenue-generating or for-profit models. In this case, mission-related investing may simply mean screening out investments that are blatant contradictions to the mission. An easy example of this would be a foundation with a focus on health might choose to screen tobacco from their investments. Likewise, a foundation with a focus on grantmaking for Indigenous Peoples may choose to screen oil and fossil fuels from their investments as we have seen in the divest initiatives at Standing Rock.

This values-based approach can also be applied to individuals and families. One certainly does not need to have a foundation to apply the aspects of values and mission to their investment portfolio.

Read the full article about mission investing by Stephanie Cohn-Rupp at the National Center for Family Philanthropy.