Giving Compass' Take:

• At the Mission Investors Exchange National Conference in early May, community foundations discussed the practice of impact investing and brought up key questions about how to achieve targeted goals that align with their missions. 

• How can impact investing align with your own organization's goals and mission?

• Read about the next big step for impact investing: improved measurement systems. 

“Impact investing is the wave of the future and the way all community foundations are headed.”

These are the words of one leader, echoing a sense of pride among many attendees at a special convening of community foundations that followed the Mission Investors Exchange National Conference on May 14-16, 2018 in Chicago.

During this convening, participants gathered to explore the impact investing challenges and opportunities for community foundations as their sector rapidly moves from questioning whether or not to pursue impact investing to understanding how to apply impact investing in the best way for their missions. To continue the conversation, email us to join MIE’s Community Foundation listserv.

Below are 5 impact investing themes that emerged in the discussion.

  1. Scaling Practice—Efficiently, Rapidly, and Effectively: “You can be advanced in one area of impact investing and just starting out in another,” noted several participants. How do community foundations efficiently manage evolution in their practice, at every stage?
  2. Fostering Place-Based Impact Investing Collaboration: “There’s a need to create place-based pools of funding, and be intentional about the role of a community foundation in a larger ecosystem,” noted one participant.
  3.  Shaping Opportunity Zone Programs: Several participants spoke about the potential impact of Opportunity Zones, a recently-developed tax incentive strategy that allows investors to receive a tax benefit for placing unrealized capital gains into funds that invest in designated low-income census tracts.
  4. Addressing Racial Equity: “As we look to grow our impact investing practice, how do we align our PRIs with a racial equity lens?” asked one participant, discussing the position of privilege that foundations hold in their communities and expressing appreciation for a workshop on unconscious bias at the conference, led by W.K. Kellogg Foundation.
  5. Engaging Organizational Culture & Addressing Human Capital Concerns: Several participants observed that building effective relationships and educating staff, board, and the broader community about impact investing are necessary ingredients of growth.

Read the full article about impact investing by Anjali Deshmukh at Mission Investors Exchange