Ford Foundation President Darren Walker has announced a new “impact investing” program to align investment and program goals.
I no longer find it defensible to say that our investment strategy is only to maximize the value of our endowment—just as it’s no longer defensible for a corporation to say its only responsibility is to maximize shareholder value. There is growing evidence that it is possible to find impact investing opportunities that deliver financial and social, double bottom-line returns.
In light of new regulations from the Obama administration, which encourage mission-related investment, now is an opportune time for foundation boards to confront the endowment question. For our part, the trustees and I are interested in taking up this question responsibly, thoughtfully, and based on evidence. We expect to promulgate a specific impact investing policy in the coming months.