Series Explores the Power and Future of Social Investing

Posted March 23, 2017, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

Blog seriesexploresthepower 2017

Casey’s social investments helped build Elmer A. Henderson: A Johns Hopkins Partnership School, a K–8 campus in East Baltimore

An 11-part series from the Stan­ford Social Inno­va­tion Review shines a light on the future of social invest­ing — a grow­ing prac­tice among phil­an­thropies inter­est­ed in going beyond tra­di­tion­al grants to advance their mission.

The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion has long believed in the pow­er of social invest­ing, also known as impact or mis­sion invest­ing, to bol­ster efforts to improve the lives of chil­dren and fam­i­lies across the coun­try. Today, the Foun­da­tion allo­cates 4% of its endow­ment to social invest­ing. Pres­i­dent and CEO Patrick McCarthy details Casey’s approach in a post that is part of the series.

The con­ver­sa­tion on impact invest­ing is par­tic­u­lar­ly rel­e­vant as more orga­ni­za­tions seek to infuse insti­tu­tion­al val­ues into their invest­ment strate­gies. Because social invest­ments are tai­lored to a philanthropy’s goals, open­ness to risk and needs in terms of social and finan­cial returns, they often involve a range of strate­gies that can vary sig­nif­i­cant­ly from one orga­ni­za­tion to another.

The Stan­ford Social Inno­va­tion Review series, called Mis­sion Pos­si­ble: How Foun­da­tions Are Shap­ing the Future of Impact Invest­ing, cap­tures var­i­ous approach­es phil­an­thropies have tak­en and tells how they are imple­ment­ing these strate­gies to fit their spe­cif­ic focus and cir­cum­stances. What­ev­er their dif­fer­ences, these orga­ni­za­tions share an explic­it empha­sis on iden­ti­fy­ing desired results beyond a finan­cial return on investment.

This inten­tion­al focus on the social out­comes — which, in Casey’s case, means tan­gi­ble results for kids, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties — defines the field. It has remained cen­tral to the Foundation’s social invest­ments, even as strate­gies have evolved and grant-mak­ing pri­or­i­ties have shifted.

Check out the series and, for more on Casey’s approach, see McCarthy’s piece.

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