PROGRESSIVE PHILANTHROPY: Impact Investing

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In the spirit of spreading the ideas of philanthropy and changemaking, Director of the Taylor Center, Kenneth Schwartz shares a letter titled, “Unleashing the power of endowments: Philanthropy’s Next Great Challenge” from Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation.

For the better part of two decades, the world of philanthropy has been engaged in an important, sometimes contested, conversation about “impact”—both how we measure it and how we deliver it. More recently, this discussion—in the Ford Foundation’s halls and throughout our sector—has focused on how to create impact through the capital market, specifically through impact investing.

As with most foundations, our own impact-related work—our support for individuals, institutions, and ideas—has remained almost entirely separate from the way we steward our endowment. While most of our work is grant making, the vast majority of our assets are actually financial investments.

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