Hewlett Foundation’s Leader Makes a Case Against Impact Investing

Friday, January 11, 2019

By Marc Gunther

The overwhelming majority of foundations, big and small, manage their endowments by pursuing financial returns above all else. Yet few of their leaders have been willing to debate critics who say that investments should seek to do good and to do well. One prominent exception: Larry Kramer, president of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

In public speeches and essays, and in an email interview with the Chronicle, Kramer has steadfastly maintained that impact investing isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Especially for the biggest foundations, he argues, impact investing could do more harm than good.

What’s been the reaction? “I have often had the experience of feeling like someone who just entered a church and told the congregants that their God does not exist,” Kramer says.

Photo courtesy of GotCredit.

Source: Chronicle of Philanthropy (link opens in a new window)

impact investing, philanthropy