‘Mission investing’ gains momentum

Foundations increasingly are using their investments, not just their grant dollars, to further their mission, a new study says.

“Mission investing,” or placing assets into investments that provide a societal or mission-related return in addition to a financial return, is garnering a larger share of foundation assets, says the report from More for Mission, a network of funders promoting mission investing.

In a survey of 39 of the network’s member foundations, about seven percent of the funders’ combined assets were projected to be mission investments for 2009, up from five percent at the end of 2008.

By the end of 2011, the respondents hope to have 23 percent of their portfolios dedicated to mission investing.

“Increasingly, foundations are recognizing the importance of utilizing their endowments to help achieve the social goals of their organizations while simultaneously earning financial results,” Lisa Hagerman, director of More for Mission, says in a statement.

About one in four foundations surveyed say the recession has spurred them to increase their commitment to mission investing, the report says, while about 15 percent are pulling back.

More for Mission’s network contains 58 foundations holding a total of $30 billion in assets.

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