About Mission Investing

On this website learn about “mission investments” — investments made by foundations and other mission-based organizations to further their philanthropic goals. Two distinct categories are: market-rate mission investments, also known as “mission-related investments,” and below-market mission investments, also known as “program-related investments.”  

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Activating the Power of Place: A Case Study of Market Creek

This article tells the story of a placed-based initiative to develop well-being and wealth in the historically underserved Diamond Neighborhood in San Diego, and discusses the place-based philosophy of the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation and the foundation’s motivation for place-based work.

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Answers to the 10 Most Asked Questions about PRIs

A program-related investment (PRI) is a type of mission or social investment that foundations make in order to achieve their philanthropic goals. This article answers frequently asked questions about PRIs.

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Capital Scan: Climate Resilient & Equitable Water Systems

This Climate Resilient & Equitable Water Systems Capital Scan was commissioned by The Kresge Foundation and authored by MissionPoint Partners and California Environmental Associates. It is designed to illuminate integrated strategies with pathways for using a full suite of capital tools — including program related investments (PRIs) and mission related investments (MRIs) – to  accelerate the implementation of innovative solutions to unlock the flow of capital in the water sector. The goal is support of Kresge’s Climate Resilient and Equitable Water Systems (CREWS) work – advancing a water equity agenda that supports solutions to address climate-related impacts on water systems, enhance climate planning at Read more

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Community Investment: Focusing on the System

This working paper reviews initial work on community investment (CI) as system. CI is defined here as investments intended to achieve social and environmental benefits in underserved communities Our goal in writing it is threefold: • To encourage people to think about the system for organizing CI demand, • To suggest ways to make the system visible and tractable in a given place, and • To offer some suggestions based on current and past efforts on how to make the CI system more robust.

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Effective and Emerging Approaches to Mission-Related Investing

This white paper defines mission investing strategies, including: socially responsible investing (SRI); environmental, social, and governance (ESG); mission-related investing (MRI); and impact investing. Readers will also learn more about a nine-point impact investing roadmap with questions to help develop your foundation’s investment strategy.

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Good Neighborhoods, Good Schools, and The Skillman Foundation’s Strategy for Place‐based Change

This Foundation-commissioned white paper gives an overview and topline analysis of Good Neighborhoods, Good Schools, and the Skillman Foundation’s strategy for place‐based change. It provides background on the thinking behind the Foundation’s efforts and the context in which they occurred; synthesizes evaluators’’ findings on the successes and challenges that the Foundation encountered in that work between 2006‐2011; suggests opportunities and challenges that lie ahead in the second half of the Good Neighborhoods decade; and makes observations about the Foundation’s work that may have implications for the broader field of place‐based change.

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Invest Northwest: Ten-Year Final Performance Review

The experience of developing, launching, managing, and evaluating Invest Northwest has provided important lessons for the Northwest Area Foundation’s and the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s mission investing programs. These lessons are also relevant to impact investors and place-based investors. With the fund coming to a close, this report documents these lessons and reflections, as well as the history of Invest Northwest, the fund’s financial performance, and its strong social performance.

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Moving Beyond Job Creation: Defining and Measuring the Creation of Quality Jobs

This report discusses how through a better understanding of what defines a quality job and a set of practical methods for measuring the quality of jobs created, we believe Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and others in the impact investing community will be better positioned to make more effective investments that support good jobs for workers, businesses, and communities.      

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Place-Based Philanthropy: Investing in Community Change

This article discusses how a growing number of family foundations have taken a commitment to geographic location to another level, and made the strategic decision to engage in place-based philanthropy, dedicating the majority of their giving and personal involvement in a specific community.    

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The Challenges of Place, Capacity, and Systems Change: The Story of Yes we can!

Key points: Yes we can!, a comprehensive community initiative (CCI) funded by the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, was designed to improve educational and economic outcomes within the foundation’s hometown of Battle Creek, Mich. Since 2002, Yes we can! has supported five core strategies designed to trigger the systems changes needed to reduce educational and economic inequities in Battle Creek. Yes we can! has achieved some important wins to date; for example, more residents are involved, more neighborhoods have stronger neighborhood associations, and more organizations are engaging residents in their decision-making processes. However, the scale of wins remains small, and the Read more

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The Education Collaboration Fund: Possibilities and Limitations of Pooled Funds

This article will describe the possibilities and the limitations of pooled funds as tools for increasing the impact of major donors and family foundations by providing a detailed case study of the ECF’s path from idea to execution.

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Transitions: an opportunity like no other

Following the January 2011 revolt in Tunisia against the regime of President Ben Ali, the country’s transition leaders adopted an open-door approach to foreign aid. An avalanche of mostly uncoordinated aid followed. Donors – private and bilateral – arrived asking questions like, ‘Who is your Mandela?’ They produced an event overload, sponsoring dozens of conferences and hotel-room trainings on identical topics. Funding opportunities and partnerships were concentrated in the capital, Tunis, and in few other parts of the country. Grant applications were often English-only. Talent was drained from local organizations to produce repetitive mappings of civil society for external donors Read more

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Voices From the Field III: Lessons and Challenges for Foundations Based on Two Decades of Community-Change Efforts

Voices From the Field III discusses the implications of comprehensive community initiatives (CCI) – both the positive and the negative – for the philanthropic community. This article builds on and expands that discussion, lifting up five themes that are especially important for foundations. The reader is encouraged to refer to the complete book for specific examples of foundation initiatives, bibliographic references, and deeper discussion of a range of issues that can only be touched upon in this article.

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Why Every Funder Should Consider Participatory Grantmaking

This blog post discusses participatory grantmaking. This type of grantmaking demonstrates a paradigm shift in how funders work with grantees as agents of change in their communities rather than simply as beneficiaries of aid. It goes beyond grantmaking into the importance of advancing public and democratic participation in decision making. In essence, the process itself is part of the impact.

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