Welcome, 2018 Local Economy Foundation Circle!

BALLE is thrilled to welcome its third cohort of visionary leaders in philanthropy who are building healthy, equitable local economies — 16 individuals from 14 communities across North America, representing community foundations, health foundations, and private family foundations with a place-based mission.

BALLE’s Local Economy Foundation Circle features leaders who activate all forms of capital — natural, social, and financial — to build local economies that work for all, through grants and investments.

“We launched the Local Economy Foundation Circle in 2014 to support what we saw as an emerging field of Place-based Mission Investing. The idea was to help philanthropies shift capital from transactional portfolios — where their investments were often creating the systems conditions they were trying to solve for with their philanthropy — into mission aligned investments that build local economies that work for all,” reflected Sandy Wiggins, outgoing BALLE Board Chair and a lead designer and co-facilitator for the program. “Mission investing is not an asset class; it’s an operating system. It requires seeing the world and the work of investment in fundamentally new ways. We knew we found the secret sauce when we blended content from the pioneers in the field with BALLE’s deep expertise in transformational development and peer learning circles.”

Moving into its third cohort, BALLE is welcoming new leaders from new places like Sarasota and Winston-Salem, and expanding our Network in communities like Baltimore, Boston, and Santa Fe. In places like Chattanooga, TN, where there are Local Economy Foundation Circle members working alongside BALLE Local Economy Fellows, there is significant progress toward shared goals across the ecosystem of individuals working together to create a stronger, healthier, and more just community.

In this cohort, BALLE is even more intentionally addressing the inextricable relationship between racial equity and philanthropy and investing.

“In many ways, we are just beginning this journey. Learning from, supporting, and building partnerships with leaders of color in philanthropy is critical to achieving BALLE’s mission, to create local economies that work for all,” said Rodney Foxworth, Executive Director. “We are thrilled to welcome a new cohort of people who are pushing the boundaries of what is possible within their institutions and communities, to address root causes of inequity, with urgency and humility.”

The BALLE Local Economy Foundation Circle is a completely unique immersive two-year experience that equips innovators in philanthropy with leadership and capacity-building skills, a peer network of leaders across North America, and a national platform illuminating their models for other communities. By building this network and offering a curriculum of transformative personal and professional development, BALLE aims to catalyze the emergence of an equitable new economy. In the 2016 Foundation Circle cohort alone, more than $70m has been committed to shift directly into place based investing, with 86% of that already deployed to create healthier, more equitable local economies.

“Impact investing as well as grantmaking need to be informed by the voice of those you are trying to serve. BALLE’s Foundation Circle taught me that voice is important and has to be diversified. You have to be intentional as you bring people to the table, if you’re going to build a program to serve the community,” shared Patti Chandler, Vice President of Finance and Administration at the Baltimore Community Foundation and member of the 2016 Foundation Circle cohort. Chandler’s work with the Foundation Circle provided critical support for her Community Foundation as they decided to carve out $4mil from the investment pool to deploy in place-based impact investments in Baltimore.”

Categories: Shift Capital