Ideas and Impact

Essentials of Impact Investing: A Guide for Small-Staffed Foundations

Every foundation, regardless of size, can now effectively engage in impact investing. Working with our partners at Mission Investors Exchange and Exponent Philanthropy, we’ve written the book on how.

Arabella Advisors believes that savvy impact investing can provide a valuable platform for philanthropic entities of any size to use to achieve their missions. Family foundations and smaller grant makers—who often bring close community ties and place-based approaches to giving—are often uniquely positioned to leverage impact investments but may not have the expertise or experience in house. In partnership with Mission Investors Exchange and Exponent Philanthropy, Arabella designed this guide to empower smaller-scale foundations with the knowledge and tools to develop effective impact investing strategies.

The authors we collaborated with more than 20 industry leaders to share their insights and expertise on everything from developing a clear mission, to assessing board dynamics, to knowing when to make catalytic or direct impact investments. But Arabella knows that sometimes just getting started can be the most intimidating part. So, we also asked the nitty gritty questions so that you don’t have to.

In this guide, you’ll also find a glossary of essential terms, best practices for RFPs, and a step-by-step process for drafting your foundation’s impact investing policy. Perhaps most illuminating, we’ve provided detailed case examples of more than 20 foundations that have pursued an array of impact investment strategies. We share their goals, processes, results, and insights so that you can learn from the on-the-ground stories of real foundations that might look a lot like yours.

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