F.B. Heron Foundation

http://heron.org/

New York, NY

Heron’s mission is to help people and communities help themselves out of poverty, using a diverse set of investment strategies focused on fostering economic innovations and practices that lead to long-term economic opportunity and prosperity for all.

Heron began as a grantmaker in 1992 and has continued to issue grants since then. If you would like to learn more about the early focus of of the foundation, you can find more information here. It didn’t take long to realize that it would take more than our own endowment to address poverty in a meaningful way. That is why we began mission investing over a decade ago, which you can read about here. Below, we discuss the evolution of Heron and how we operate today.

For years, Heron has aligned an increasing portion of its assets with mission. Until relatively recently (2011), we were investing in programs and organizations that were meant to connect people and communities in need with a main stream that, if it could be entered, would flow steadily toward fair opportunity, employment and with them, steady income. We funded home ownership, education, access to credit and similar programs in service to this assumption

After the economic crash of 2008, and the financial crisis that followed, we reassessed. In 2011, following a strategic review, we came to believe that in the United States, poverty had become structural, and the reliable opportunity that was a cornerstone of our national promise was available to fewer and fewer of us. And while the programs we had funded for years were important and necessary, they were not sufficient. We were winning battles, but not the war. The world had changed.