News and Insights

That Small Town Investing Magic

07/18/2019

Rosalie Sheehy Cates | It’s magic to watch impact investing happen in a small town. In June, a group of local people met in Missoula, Montana for 90 minutes and crafted a $300,000 loan enabling a nonprofit organization to buy land for an innovative affordable housing development. Their transaction paves the way for Homeword to develop up to 72 new homes and support services that are sorely needed in Missoula. 

I love seeing how impact investing plays to the strengths of small communities. For starters, everyone involved is familiar with the neighborhood and the property involved. But the real magic is that the investors have long-time relationships as professionals and friends. They trust each other. They can be open and transparent, and frankly, they can work pretty fast.  more »

Home Sweet Home: Working on Equity in Affordable Housing

03/17/2016

Sharon Wade Ellis, Momentum Fellow | When I was a kid, I spent summers with my grandparents in their old and drafty home on Chicago's South Side. Old as it was, that home offered refuge, and that garden provided more than nourishment: together, house and garden tied the family closely to their community. They cherished its security and affordability. In the minds of my grandparents, the home and everything associated with it was theirs — but they didn't own it, and therefore knew they could lose it one day. They were lucky. That place — their place — left me with a certainty: everyone has a right to a stable and affordable home. I carry my passion forward to the work I do at Meyer Memorial Trust, finding relief for my nagging ache of wanting to help people access housing that meets their needs. more »

10 Examples of Progress in Washington State

12/18/2015

David Bley, director of the Pacific Northwest Initiative at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation looks back at on  memorable moments for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Pacific Northwest partners and our team, helping families achieve stable housing, strengthening local community networks and supporting great schools that help students and teachers realize their potential and reach for their dreams. Here are just a few of his favorite moments of progress over the past year. more »

A Season of Change at Meyer Memorial Trust

09/18/2015

Doug Stamm, Meyer Memorial Trust | September always brings change: weather shifts from hot to cool, busy autumn mornings replace leisurely summer afternoons, days grow incrementally shorter. Here at Meyer Memorial Trust, in a year filled with changes, the month offers a moment to reflect on where we have been and on where we are heading. Last year, Meyer awarded more grants than ever before — 515 grants and loans just over $46 million; we are again on track to make the largest payout in the foundation’s history. But we haven’t only been making grants this year. We began outreach in several of our four priority focus areas — housing, education, the environment, and supporting a vibrant nonprofit sector. more »

Donors in the Driver's Seat: Mission Investing With The Seattle Foundation

04/06/2015

Allison Parker, The Seattle Foundation | The Seattle Foundation has been involved with mission investing since 2004. Together, foundation-directed impact investments, made from our discretionary funds and donor-recommended investments, made from DAFs, currently total $7.2 million, with 23 open transactions representing 22 different funds. Here's some of what we've learned along the way. more »

What Can Philanthropy Possibly Do About Spiraling Housing Costs?

06/30/2014

by David Wertheimer and David Landers. Acknowledging that funding for affordable housing results from the complex interplay of large economic trends, regional economic and real estate markets, and government policies and policies at the federal, state and local levels, it’s sometimes hard to identify the roles the philanthropic sector can play in this arena. With per-unit development costs for new units now running as high as $250,000-$300,000, there are few if any foundations that have the resources to “build our way” out of this crisis. Yet at our member briefing, we all agreed it’s critical for Philanthropy Northwest members to consider what we can offer to help address this important issue. more »