The Impact Investing Guidebook for Foundations

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Purpose Capital, Community Foundations of Canada, Philanthropic Foundations Canada

New Impact Investing Guidebook for Community Foundations This guidebook and its Resource Centre  were created to inform and support interested Canadian foundations to begin or deepen their Impact Investing activity.

The guidebook and its network of supports were created for foundations large and small, with different capacities and levels of commitment. While the size of a foundation can increase its capacity to invest, foundations of all types and sizes have chosen to follow this path from a desire to have a greater positive impact in their communities and the world more broadly. It includes answers to many common questions, including, but not limited to:

  • What is Impact Investing?
  • Why is it important for foundations?
  • What are other foundations doing about it?
  • How can we begin, advance or improve Impact Investing at our foundation?

Download The Impact Investing Guidebook for Foundations

The guide was written to provide practical strategies and tactical support for executive directors and board members of foundations that are considering or beginning to make impact investments. It covers a range of materials, including:

  • A roadmap to begin or deepen Impact Investing at your organization
  • Success stories from foundation leaders
  • Clear examples of Impact Investing in practice
  • Myths that can get in the way of Impact Investing, and motivations that can help overcome barriers 

This guide features stories from foundation leaders who have successfully introduced Impact Investing in their organizations. Each story links to extended content - interviews, videos and other material - created to support your journey. Read on to discover multiple paths, strategies and tactics for advancing your Impact Investing journey.

This Guidebook has been developed by leading impact advisory firm Purpose Capital in partnership with Community Foundations of Canada and Philanthropic Foundations Canada, with additional support from Miller Thomson, Employment and Social Development Canada, Edmonton Community Foundation, Fondation Lucie et André Chagnon, Genus Capital, and input from Canadian foundations.

Table of Contents

Foreword from Matthew Bishop

   Whom and What Is This Guide For?
   How to Use This Guide
Case Studies
   Learning from Practitioners: Voices of Foundation Executives
   Ottawa Community Foundation
   Lawson Foundation
   The Take-Away: Why Foundations are Taking Action
   Lessons From The Field: Voices of Foundation Investees
   New Market Funds
   How Business Solutions Can Achieve Positive Social Change
   What is Impact Investing?
   The Spectrum of Impact Investing
   Impact Investing Across Asset Classes, Themes and Geographies
   Mission and Program-Related Investments
   Addressing Practical Challenges
   Seven Steps for Implementing an Impact Investment Strategy
   Expectations and Reality
   STEP 1: Develop a Preliminary Vision
   STEP 2: Secure Buy-in From Your Board
   STEP 3: Develop Strategy
   STEP 4: Formalize Governance
   STEP 5: Determine Your Impact Measurement Approach|
   STEP 6: Assess Your Management Capacity
   STEP 7 Invest & Learn
   Quick Wins
   Resources to the Guide

Organizational Development

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