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Casey boosting social investing

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The Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore has allocated an additional $25 million of its endowment dollars for social investments designed to generate financial returns as well as social returns that advance the foundation’s mission of improving the lives of vulnerable children and families.

The board of trustees of the foundation voted in February to expand its social investments to $125 million, or 5 percent of its $2.5 billion in endowment.

The increased allocation will not be included in the foundation’s annual grant payout rate of 8 percent, which is three percentage points higher than the federally-mandated rate of 5 percent.

The foundation, which aims to target some of the additional funding to its program strategies in Baltimore, Atlanta and New Haven, Conn., is among a growing number of foundations that are looking to align their investments with their mission through program-related loans and other investments.

In 2007, the foundation partnered with the F.B. Heron Foundation and the Meyer Memorial Trust to launch the More for Mission Campaign, calling on foundations to increase their mission investments by at least 2 percent of total foundation assets, or $10 billion over the next five years.

So far, 64 foundation CEOs representing nearly $32 billion in assets have agreed to develop a mission-investing movement with foundation endowments as leaders.

“Social investments allow us to increase the resources dedicated to our programmatic work and stretch foundation dollars by reinvesting money in programs that have shown the strongest results,” Douglas W. Nelson, president and CEO of the Annie E. Casey Foundation, says in a statement.

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