A new episode of SOCAP’s podcast series, Money + Meaning: Unlikely Allies Building New Markets for Impact is now available!
A Conversation About Foundations and Full Spectrum Capital
“Would you provide a grant to deliver these outcomes? If the answer is yes, and you actually have an opportunity to recoup some of those grant dollars to then redeploy to another meaningful project to deliver outcomes, then why wouldn’t you take that approach?”
–Teresa Ish, Program Officer, Walton Family Foundation
Foundations traditionally have grant-making staff and endowment investing staff that operate entirely independent of each other. What happens when foundations move beyond this kind of “two-pocket” thinking? In the latest Money + Meaning podcast, we unpack the challenges and opportunities that arise when a traditional foundation starts to move beyond grantmaking and begins to explore other ways that their money can support solutions that are creating positive social or environmental impact.
In this episode Lindsay Smalling talks to Dr. Stephanie Gripne of the Impact Finance Center and Teresa Ish of the Walton Family Foundation to explore the nuances of a full spectrum of capital and the ways that the same money can be understood and treated differently depending on expectations of return, perceptions of risk, and potential for impact.
Restoring the health and sustainability of ocean fisheries is one of the primary impact goals of the Walton Family Foundation. As a Program Officer focused on their Oceans Initiative, Ish reached out to Gripne to learn more about how impact investing could potentially help them deliver better outcomes. Gripne leads The Impact Finance Center, a nonprofit academic center that identifies, trains, and activates individuals and organizations to become impact investors.
The eventual result of their conversation was an innovative investment that falls somewhere in between a grant and a loan. This “recoverable loan” was made to a fisheries company that will only have to pay back 50% of the money if they hit specific impact thresholds. The result of this loan structure is an alignment between the company’s impact and their finances, along with the foundation’s desired impact outcomes. Listen to their full conversation to hear the details of this deal and its implications for other foundations that are considering a move away from two-pocket thinking.
Host: Lindsay Smalling
About Money + Meaning
Money + Meaning is the official podcast of SOCAP. This series aims to expand the conversation around impact investing and strategies to finance and support social change while stimulating innovative and valuable new partnerships across sectors.
- Why I’m Optimistic About the Future of Sustainable Seafood, by Teresa Ish
- Research for The Foundation Review: Laying the Groundwork of the National Marketplace, by Stephanie L. Gripne, Impact Finance Center; Joanne Kelley, Colorado Association of Funders; and Kathy Merchant, Impact Finance Center
- Is This Wildlife Conservation PhD The Steve Jobs Of Impact Investing? By Devin Thorpe