Impact investing has been on a lot of people’s minds lately in philanthropy, including ours. We are curious about how different foundations imagine and develop their strategies, and the Heron Foundation is one funder that’s been a real leader in this area. As we’ve previously reported, Heron is working to move its full endowment of some $300 million into investments that align with its mission by the end of 2017.To learn more about what Heron is up to, we got on the phone with Toni Johnson, who is a vice president charged with forging the path for Heron’s long-term public influence and engagement strategy.
Great article by Steve Ahlquist, including this:
This is no idle concern of a local resident crying NIMBY. Ted Nesi reports that Senator Sheldon Whitehouse is undecided on the matter. His spokesman Seth Larson said, “The senator has significant concerns about methane leaks during natural gas production and elsewhere in the supply chain and has been urging EPA to pin down the size of the problem and take action to address it.”
Philanthropy is getting ever more entwined with venture investing, and many funding efforts are done collaboratively, with smaller foundations teaming up on impact investments with other partners. You can see this in one issue area after the other, as we report often.
One new player making things happen in the clean energy space is PRIME, a nonprofit whose mission is to “accelerate the commercial deployment of technologies that reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.” More specifically, PRIME says it “empowers philanthropic investors with the critical tools they need to make direct, for-profit investments that address climate change.” (See more details here.) In other words, it’s a matchmaker.
With all the hype in the media about the Clinton Foundation, we wonder how many Americans actually know what the foundation does—or how many members of the media, for that matter.
Listening to news reports, you’d think the sole purpose of this outfit is to help the Clintons get rich and do favors for their shady friends. And while, to be sure, some of the reports about specific donors have been troubling—and suggest questionable judgment by the Clintons—what’s missing is a broader, more balanced look at how the foundation mobilizes money for good causes and who, in reality, puts up most of that money. (Hint: It’s not dictators looking for favors from the State Department.) While people shouldn’t stop asking hard questions about the foundation, they should pay more attention to its approach and programs.
What does it take to create a vibrant city with lots of opportunity? Well, in an earlier times, people might have cited a big anchor business or port facility or prime tourist attraction. But after years of thinking and research about urban renewal, the answers have gotten more nuanced and complex.
A city has got to attract talented people—like those creatives we always hear about—but not in a way that pushes out the working class that actually makes things go. Developing a cutting edge industry can be a boon, but cities also need to nurture ladders of opportunity that lead upward from low-wage service jobs. You want engaged citizens, yes, but too much NIMBYism can make it hard to undertake big projects.
It’s not easy distilling the secret sauce of urban vitality, but the Knight Foundation is making an effort with its Knight Cities Challenge, which just announced 32 winners to divvy up $5 million in funding from the foundation.
When you are one, you have only just learned to speak. You move about clumsily and knock things down a lot. You don’t yet know what is possible, but you are burgeoning with life.
As the New Year gets underway, we could conjure up a list of “top trends” in philanthropy for 2015 or make a bunch of predictions that we would probably regret twelve months from now, along with all the junk we ate over the holidays.
But we’re going to skip such exercises and instead offer up a quick tour of the obsessions, favorite causes, and pet peeves that we’ll be indulging this year. If you’re still wondering what the agenda is at Inside Philanthropy, you’ve clicked on the right post.