News and Insights

A Continuum of Learning: Investing in Philanthropy and Myself

11/18/2015

Katherine Porras, Momentum Fellow | When I moved to Oregon in 2013, I found myself captivated by the beauty of its green valleys and blue rivers. A few months ago, I was thrilled to be accepted to the Momentum Fellowship's investment position at Meyer Memorial Trust. This is a unique opportunity to help serve marginalized communities, while growing professionally with an amazing cohort dedicated to the field of philanthropy. We are fortunate to have this opportunity and we all recognized its potential, not only forging our own career paths, but also for the magnitude of possible contribution when a group of nine diverse professionals striving for excellence work together towards a common goal: making the future of philanthropy more diverse, equitable and inclusive. more »

Impact Investing Continues its March to the Mainstream

09/18/2015

Jeff Clarke, CEO | When a small group of foundations came together more than 10 years ago to discuss the prospects for increasing the number of foundations making program-related investments, those of us around the table were energized by the potential of impact investing. At the same time, we also knew it would take a long time — and a lot of hard work to inform and influence — before it would become accepted as a mainstream idea. That meeting was, among other things, the genesis of Mission Investors Exchange. While we certainly had big aspirations for the field, I’m amazed to see how quickly impact investing is evolving, both in practice and underlying regulation. On September 15, the Internal Revenue Service released important new guidance for private foundation managers who make investment decisions, noting that they are not required to select only investments that offer the highest rates of risk-adjusted return. The IRS now recognizes that aligning investment decisions with a foundation’s charitable purpose can be a component of a prudent investment policy. more »

Introducing Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project

09/15/2015

Tim Crosby, Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project | I grew up working on family farms and participating in a family foundation that supports community and environmental vitality. While pursuing a business degree, I realized that food is at the intersection of many social and environmental issues, and that the best way to preserve farmland would be to improve the economics of farming — which means figuring out how to finance good local food businesses and make them more accessible and competitive in the marketplace. This nexus of philanthropy, food and finance has come together in Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project, the latest project to join Philanthropy Northwest’s incubation platform and regional impact investing network. So what is it, and why does it matter? more »

Matt Onek

Mission Investors Exchange Names Social Innovation Leader Matt Onek as CEO

09/10/2015

Mission Investors Exchange, a network of more than 200 foundations engaged in impact investing across the country, has announced Matt Onek as its new CEO. The network, incubated by Philanthropy Northwest, is a national membership organization that shares ideas, tools and experiences to increase the impact of financial capital. “Matt brings a remarkably diverse set of experiences to the work and is the right person to lead Mission Investors Exchange into its future. Philanthropy Northwest, which has long been committed to advancing the field of impact investing, looks forward to working with him to continue the work of building local capacity," said Philanthropy Northwest CEO Jeff Clarke. more »

At the Tipping Point for Mission Investing: What Now?

09/09/2015

Rosalie Sheehy Cates | Rosalie Sheehy Cates, Senior Advisor, The Giving Practice | I officially declare that mission investing among foundations and family offices is at a tipping point. The number of early adopters has reached a critical mass, providing enough results and pulling enough products and services into the market to tempt mainstream audiences to take a serious look. Mission investing is everywhere — it comes up at conferences, in board rooms and at professional meetings. New funds and managers are introduced every week. Hold onto your hats, because it looks like the sector will be very, very busy in the next few years. more »

Guided by Native Values: An Interview with Anthony Mallott, Sealaska CEO

08/06/2015

Anthony Mallott is CEO of Sealaska, a Juneau-based Alaska Native corporation owned by 22,000 Tlingit, Haida and Tsimshian shareholders. In addition to leading Sealaska, he serves on the Rasmuson Foundation board and The Alaska Community Foundation investment committee. He recently spoke with Philanthropy Northwest CEO Jeff Clarke about his work, as part of our ongoing series of interviews with key leaders in philanthropy from across the region and around the nation. more »

Blazing Trails and Building Bridges: Program-Related Investing in the Intermountain West

07/30/2015

Lawson F. Knight, Intermountain Impact Investments | Some people crave security and predictability in their careers. Not me. I'm drawn to adventure and invention — doing things we don't know how to do yet. One of my mentors, Dr. Ellen Wolf, past president and board member of the Blue Mountain Community Foundation, recognized this and predicted that I would someday leave my comfortable position as the foundation's executive director to blaze new trails. She was right. With a colleague in Wyoming, I co-founded Intermountain Impact Investments last year. more »

Finding Our Place in the Regional Impact Investing Ecosystem

07/01/2015

Allison Parker, Seattle Foundation | Like Chambers Bay, our region's impact investing network is a complex course: alluring with breathtaking views, but filled with hidden bumps, tough climbs and other potential hazards. By mapping out this ecosystem, we see that our role is to build on our strengths as a community foundation: sharing place-based knowledge, building relationships and engaging donors. Here's what we learned while developing The Seattle Foundation's Impact Investing "2.0" program over an 18-month period. more »

Philanthropy is... Networks in Action. What We Heard at Local Matters: Montana

06/23/2015

Caitlin Copple, Montana Correspondent | Against the backdrop of Lone Mountain on a patio with a river rock fireplace, nearly 100 philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, nonprofit staff and government leaders spent a day and a half talking, thinking and planning next steps to advance issues that matter most to Montanans. Here's what we learned at Local Matters: Montana in June. more »

Philanthropy is... Enterpreneurial: What We Heard at Local Matters: Idaho

06/02/2015

Jon Stahl, Communications Director | Last week we were thrilled to welcome a capacity crowd of 70+ philanthropists, social entrepreneurs, government officials, nonprofit leaders and academics to Boise, Idaho for the second event in our 2015 Local Matters series. Here's what we talked about. more »

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