Aligning Money With Mission.

Since 2014, BALLE and RSF Social Finance, with advisory support from Mission Investors Exchange and Democracy Collaborative, have been convening the Community Foundation Circle (CFC), values-driven community foundations who are committed to moving their money away from wall street investments and directly into their communities. Along with the BALLE Investors Circle, these foundations are actively modeling a new way of working with capital to support their local economies.

As a community of practice these pioneering leaders are working to align their individual foundations’ investments to directly support their mission in their place. Circle members use this community to advance their personal effectiveness in overcoming barriers to place-based impact investment, to share with and support one another, to learn from domain experts and to intentionally create new knowledge and practices.

The initial cohort of the invitational CFC, comprised of 13 community foundation leaders from across North America, completed their 18-month program in the spring of 2016. The 2nd cohort of CFC leaders began convening in October 2016. Following is a snapshot of successes and insights from the first CFC cohort:

  • The CFC committed to aligning more than $2.5 billion in collective investment assets to their missions.
  • The Polk County Community Foundation re-examined their existing portfolio and how their investment decisions impacted the community. As a result, they shifted money market assets from a national investment firm to a credit union that serves people in their community by providing reasonably priced banking services and loans to people who have less than perfect credit scores. In addition to the new social returns on their investment, they dramatically increased financial returns on the money market funds.
  • The Hamilton Community Foundation has committed to shifting 20% of their donor advised funds to be used for place-based impact investing, and has invested in a multitude of opportunities including a large-scale affordable home ownership project, an aboriginal housing project, and an innovative food center.
  • Rhode Island Foundation worked with Avivar capital on the creation of an impact investing policy statement. The policy set a goal of 5% of their endowment to be directed towards place-based impact investing with no limits to the types of investments.
  • The Circle is personally and professionally transformative. I have seen community foundation leaders move from confusion and not knowing about place-based impact investing to dramatic new clarity and amazingly effective new projects. Something powerful happens here. I’ve rarely seen anything like it.” – Marjorie Kelly, The Democracy Collaborative 
  • The Community Foundation Circle is accelerating my learning and our organizational work on impact investing in ways that would not otherwise be possible. It is a carefully curated and well executed experience, and is transforming our opportunities in our community.” – Mauri Ingram, Whatcom Community Foundation

Members of the CFC also hold a commitment to advance the larger field and to make their resources and knowledge available to others doing related work. As part of this circle, members commit to advancing their work in tangible ways and will showcase their progress in shifting their foundation’s investment practices at the end of an 18-month period. Learn more about our CFC faculty and resource partners.