Our paper, “Investing for impact in the endowment: Why do it and how to get started”, is a practical guide designed to help foundation leaders and the constellation of professionals that surround them to make their first moves into impact investing. With support from the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, and working in partnership with other key players in the sector, we aim to increase the volume of charitable endowment assets invested for positive social and environmental impact as well as financial return. We believe that with the right combination of myth-busting introductory materials to impact investing, case studies of those foundations leading the way, and highly tailored stakeholder engagement, more foundations would deploy impact investing in their endowments.

Alongside setting out definitions of impact investing, the guide exposes some prevalent myths concerning legality and financial returns, the reasons why endowments should invest with impact and the products and tools they can employ to help them to achieve this aim. To support this, the guide also includes practical steps which endowments can take to become impact investors and a set of case studies highlighting those who have already pioneered the approach.

This guide should be helpful to the full range of individuals and organisations that need to work together to deliver an impact investing strategy including:

  • Foundation trustees and their investment committees, taking the strategic decision to allocate for impact in their endowment;
  • Foundation leaders, CEOs and their teams, implementing endowment strategies in step with their board, investment advisors and managers;
  • Investment advisors, working closely with foundation leadership to recommend investment strategies for the portfolio;
  • Investment managers, partnering with foundations and investment advisors to deliver impact investing strategies; and
  • Impact investing asset managers, seeking to raise capital from foundation endowments and deliver impact through their investments.

You can download the full guide below.

Report date: February 2022
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