A First Step for Place-Focused Foundations

Three ideas for getting started as local impact investors
Nov 14, 2019 9:10 AM ET

by Travis Green, Solutions Consultant, LOCUS Impact Investing

A decade from now, local impact investment funds will be an essential asset for most place-focused foundations. Why? Principally, communities need this type of flexible investment. Foundations leading these funds demonstrate their willingness to remain relevant in their communities – putting distance between themselves and other financial services companies and online tool providers that offer transactional grantmaking services. Such organizations replace functions performed traditionally by local foundations. Local investing, like community leadership or growing unrestricted endowment, is something that is difficult for big banks or online tools to replicate. It keeps foundations relevant as mission-aligned endowment stewards.

Of course, we’re not there yet. There’s a lot for foundations to learn and questions to unpack. What is a royalty or a participation? This isn’t what my investment committee should be doing, is it? We’ve defined the ideal local impact investment in our investment policy, but how do we actually find opportunities in our community? Will my community banks see this as a threat? How much of my endowment should I commit? Isn’t this risky? Is this legal? Any foundation leader considering becoming a local impact investor is right to feel like there is a long list of to-dos and no clear place to start. 

Read Travis's full article with his three ideas for local impact investors to get started - all here - https://greenmoney.com/a-first-step-for-place-focused-foundations 


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