News and Insights

Impact in Action: Investing in a Local Food Bank

01/26/2016

Seth Benziger, Impact Capital | As a community development financial institutition, Impact Capital has focused on providing financing for affordable housing projects in Oregon and Washington. In the past year, however, we branched out by making a bridge loan to the University District Food Bank, so the Seattle nonprofit could move into a bigger space and serve more clients. As we turn the page on this impact investment, we can review five parts of the story: what prompted this investment, what's been easy, what's been challenging, what have we learned — and what's next? more »

Nine Predictions for Philanthropy in 2016

01/12/2016

Jeff Clarke, CEO | Welcome to 2016! Philanthropy’s core DNA is love for humanity and community. Here in the Pacific Northwest, we celebrate a unique philanthropic culture marked by optimism, generosity, civic engagement and stewardship. It rests upon our nation’s unique commitment to philanthropic freedom and donor intent. But above all, our big, diverse place defines us, from Alaska’s North Slope to southern Oregon, and the Pacific coast to eastern Montana and Wyoming. In other words, as American farmer and writer Wendell Berry observed, “If you don’t know where you are, you don’t know who you are.” Looking ahead to what is sure to be a dynamic year, philanthropy, with its ability to gather people around the public good, is more important than ever. more »

Pay for Success Opportunities: Call for Proposals

01/06/2016

Pay for Success (PFS) is a form of government contracting in which third-party investors, including foundations, commit to paying the upfront costs for providing evidence-based social services; government agencies repay investors with a modest return if the program achieves the agreed-upon outcomes. For other funders interested in exploring this emerging model of impact investing, Philanthropy Northwest has learned of three new opportunities through the Corporation for National and Community Service's Social Innovation Fund and the University of Utah’s Policy Innovation Lab. more »

Paying for Success in the Northwest

12/21/2015

Jeff Clarke, CEO | The Pacific Northwest has a unique and globally influential culture marked by innovation, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, generosity and stewardship. Our region’s commitment to innovation drives our growing leadership in impact investing — leveraging private capital for social good. Impact investors seek opportunities to earn a financial return while also doing something good for society. Their aspirations are changing the way we think about solutions to big social problems like homelessness, poverty and unemployment. more »

Impact Investing in Food Systems: How Will We Measure Success?

12/08/2015

Tim Crosby, Cascadia Foodshed Financing Project | Impact investing seeks to combine financial returns with social and environmental benefits. We have long held the tools to assess financial returns, but measuring social and environmental returns is far more complex. Impact investing in food systems gets even more complicated, because we're aiming for environmental and social goals that may not necessarily be aligned — for example, investing in small farmers who use organic growing practices while funding strategies to make healthy food more available and affordable to low-income families. more »

Capital, Communities and Connectivity

11/20/2015

Craig Muska, Canopy | They say every place is unique, a complex melting pot of people, beliefs, history and politics. I’ve been thinking a lot about this “uniqueness” in recent weeks, especially given that earlier this year I launched Canopy, a new place-based investment collaborative. Today, nearly 30 Pacific Northwest leaders will convene in Roseburg, Oregon at The Ford Family Foundation headquarters for an experiential learning session focused on the rural economic development ecosystem, and how we all might help drive capital to our communities that need it most. I would invite you to tune in to the posts that follow as this work develops to watch what we hope will be a beautiful knitting together of our region. more »

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: Three Takeaways from Dept. of Labor ERISA News

11/02/2015

David Wood, Initiative for Responsible Investment | On October 22, the U.S. Department of Labor announced it was withdrawing a guidance memo from 2008 for ERISA plans on Economically Targeted Investments (ETIs), reverting instead to previous guidance issued in 1994. This move had been long sought by responsible investors, who shared the DOL’s concern that the 2008 guidance “unduly discouraged fiduciaries from considering ETIs and ESG factors” when making their investment decisions. This is big news. Here are three things I took from the announcement: more »

Canopy's First Six Months: Building the Northwest's Place-Based Investing Infrastructure

10/05/2015

Lauren Sato, Canopy | Six months ago, Canopy launched in the Pacific Northwest with a grand vision to build the infrastructure necessary to create a thriving ecosystem for place-based impact investing. Half a year later, our commitment to this vision has led to many exciting changes. Based on interest and feedback from the field, Canopy has evolved from its early work of conducting field-building research to include robust technical infrastructure building and educational programming, all aimed at creating equitable prosperity in our region — from northern California to Alaska, from the Pacific Ocean to Wyoming — and ultimately across the United States. more »

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