Additional $25 Million Pledged for Socially Responsible Investment Practices

Posted March 3, 2010
Newsrelease socialinvestmentspledge 2010

The Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion announced today an addi­tion­al $25 mil­lion allo­ca­tion for social invest­ments – a set of strate­gies that would use endow­ment dol­lars to gen­er­ate finan­cial returns as well as social returns that advance the Foundation’s mis­sion to improve the lives of vul­ner­a­ble chil­dren and families.

By unan­i­mous vote last month, the Casey Foun­da­tion Board of Trustees approved expand­ing these invest­ments to a total of $125 mil­lion, or 5% of the philanthropy’s $2.5 bil­lion endow­ment. This increased allo­ca­tion from the Foundation’s endow­ment would not be includ­ed in the annu­al grant pay­out rate of almost 8% – a lev­el that is three per­cent­age points high­er than the fed­er­al­ly man­dat­ed rate of 5%.

This deci­sion rep­re­sents a vote of con­fi­dence in a set of inno­v­a­tive solu­tions that can achieve greater social impact for kids, fam­i­lies and com­mu­ni­ties in spite of a reduced endow­ment,” says Dou­glas W. Nel­son, pres­i­dent and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion. Social invest­ments allow us to increase the resources ded­i­cat­ed to our pro­gram­mat­ic work and stretch foun­da­tion dol­lars by rein­vest­ing the mon­ey in pro­grams that have shown the strongest results.”

The Foun­da­tion plans to tar­get a por­tion of the addi­tion­al fund­ing to its pro­gram strate­gies in Bal­ti­more, Atlanta and New Haven, Conn.

Social invest­ing is an impor­tant tool for align­ing non-grant­mak­ing dol­lars with pro­gram­mat­ic pri­or­i­ties,” says Christa Velasquez, direc­tor of social invest­ments at the Casey Foun­da­tion and co-chair of the PRI Mak­ers Net­work, an asso­ci­a­tion of over 90 grant­mak­ers that use pro­gram-relat­ed and oth­er invest­ments to accom­plish their phil­an­thropic goals. For exam­ple, apply­ing this approach might result in a foun­da­tion with a com­mit­ment to home own­er­ship invest­ing in low-income hous­ing or to entre­pre­neur­ship in ven­ture cap­i­tal, or com­mit­ment to under­served com­mu­ni­ties mak­ing deposits in com­mu­ni­ty devel­op­ment banks and cred­it unions. A foun­da­tion with an envi­ron­men­tal­ly focused mis­sion might invest in clean tech­nol­o­gy, green col­lar jobs or sus­tain­able real estate projects.”

An increas­ing num­ber of foun­da­tions are seek­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties to align invest­ments with the mis­sion of the orga­ni­za­tion. In 2007, the Annie E. Casey Foun­da­tion part­nered with the F.B. Heron Foun­da­tion and the Mey­er Memo­r­i­al Trust to launch the More for Mis­sion Cam­paign – a call to foun­da­tions to increase mis­sion invest­ments by at least 2% of total foun­da­tion assets – some $10 bil­lion over the next five years. To date, 64 foun­da­tion CEOs who rep­re­sent close to $32 bil­lion in assets have signed on to devel­op a robust and dynam­ic mis­sion-invest­ing field with foun­da­tion endow­ments as lead­ers. For more infor­ma­tion on social invest­ing, includ­ing suc­cess­ful strate­gies, best prac­tice in mis­sion invest­ing and tools for investors with links to research on the field and mea­sure­ment sys­tems for mis­sion impact, vis­it www​.more​formis​sion​.org or www​.pri​mak​ers​.net.

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