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News & Events

News & Event

World of Philanthropy & Investing Collide through Impact Investing

The Greater Cincinnati Foundation was one of eight organizations examined to get an understanding of how impact donor advised funds, an emerging social finance instrument in the philanthropic sector, work in North America in a joint paper released by Social Venture ConneXion and Tides Canada. 

Impact Donor Advised Funds: A ScanCINCINNATI (June 2, 2016) —The Greater Cincinnati Foundation was one of eight organizations examined to get an understanding of how impact donor advised funds, an emerging social finance instrument in the philanthropic sector, work in North America in a joint paper released by Social Venture ConneXion (SVX) and Tides Canada. 

“It is a well-documented fact amongst those in the social change and philanthropic sectors that, in order to tackle our most pressing social and environmental challenges, we must mobilize capital in both its investment and philanthropic forms," the authors write in the report, "Impact DAFs" A Scan" [PDF]. "This has lead to an explosion of foundations re-aligning their investment portfolios to meet their mission aims. Investment portfolios in this context largely consist of endowment funds, as many private foundations across Canada and the US have actively transformed their investments into mission-supporting vehicles.” 

A few highlights: 

  • With impact investing, individual donors with donor advised funds at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation have the option of investing in specific deals alongside the Foundation. 
  • Investments align with the Foundation’s granting priorities as outlined in its Community Investment Framework and have included community/economic development (including support for entrepreneurs), health, human services (e.g. shelters), arts and culture, education, and energy. 
  • Performance: Overall, all of GCF’s investees are paying on time and are achieving or exceeding their expected results. 
  • The Foundation has attracted six new donors who came specifically seeking a DAF that could be invested for impact. “When we first started, we saw it as a way to retain and engage donors. It could also attract new donors, but that wasn’t our primary goal," says Amy Cheney, Vice President of Giving Strategies.

Learn more about Impact Investing at The Greater Cincinnati Foundation.

This report was written by Marie Ang, Adam Spence, and Todd Jaques and published April 2016. The case study on The Greater Cincinnati Foundation begins on page 10. 

Read the full report, “Impact Donor Advised Funds: A Scan” [PDF]

About The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

One of the nation’s leading community foundations, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation helps people make the most of their giving to build a better community. We believe in the power of philanthropy to change the lives of people and communities. As a community foundation, GCF creates a prosperous Greater Cincinnati by investing in thriving people and vibrant places. An effective steward of the community’s charitable resources since 1963, the Foundation inspires philanthropy in eight counties in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana. At the end of 2015, GCF had net assets of $533 million.



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