New Terrain: In Search of Social Justice Impact Investing
By Tate Williams
Impact investing is still a fledgling practice in mainstream philanthropy, but its popularity is growing in a big way. While there are lots of enthusiastic proponents out there—extolling the idea of putting more wealth to work, or making an impact and making money—others (including on this very site) are questioning how deeply foundations should be diving into this approach.
At the same time, just as with grantmaking, the value in impact investing all comes down to the details.
For many institutions, especially those with social justice missions, there are big questions about how exactly to execute a hugely varying set of tactics that get lumped under the same rubric of impact investing. One of those institutions is the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation, a small and progressive family foundation with a strong mission for social change—and a $55 million endowment it’s trying to put to best use.
Photo courtesy of Pavel Ahmed.