Impact Investing

Launched in 2017, our $100 million commitment to impact investing works alongside our grantmaking in support of the Foundation’s mission.  We focus on a combination of mission-related investments (MRIs) and program-related investments (PRIs), along with other strategies.

Mission Related Investing

The purpose of our commitment to MRIs is to make investments that are mission and values aligned, and able to generate risk-adjusted returns.  We invest with the expectation that some of our MRI investments, over time, will become part of our Endowment.

Funding for our mission-related investments is intended to meet the risk, return, and impact objectives of the Foundation. Over time, we will apply what we’ve learned from our mission-related investments to our other investment decisions.

In addition to advancing our mission, we also seek to build the field of impact investing. As a part of this effort, we are committed to sharing our experience with others in the impact investment community. Our “Mapping the Journey to Impact Investing” report charts Surdna’s journey from the time we began exploring impact investing in 2014, to the decision-making and impact investing process.

Program Related Investing

The purpose of our commitment to PRIs is to source and capitalize investment opportunities that expand the Foundation’s potential for social impact beyond our grantmaking. The Program Related Investment Revolving Fund began investing in 2014, and supports the Foundation’s mission of fostering just and sustainable communities by providing investment capital to fund innovative, market-based approaches that address systemic challenges while generating both social and financial returns.

A new tool to increase impact
By putting our capital to use through PRIs, we can pursue our programmatic objectives through market-based solutions and provide capital to start-up, scale, and sustain social enterprises.

Strengthening social ventures and fostering innovation
Providing social ventures with risk-seeking capital allows them to strengthen their practices and attract mainstream investment. Our investments also offer diverse types of capital that are critical to fostering the development of early stage ventures.

Strategy and Guidelines
The PRI Fund will focus on demonstrating the viability of innovative approaches, rather than expanding or replicating successful ones.

Alignment with Surdna’s Grantmaking Programs
In developing PRI opportunities, the Foundation will follow the strategies of Surdna’s grantmaking programs.  PRIs must fit within our program guidelines.

Fair Food Network

Sustainable Environments, $5000,000, debt (2014)
Through its Fair Food Fund, the Fair Food Network plans to provide loans and equity capital, along with business development services to support local farms and increase access to healthy food and jobs—rebuilding regional food infrastructure in the process.

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Impact America Fund I

Inclusive Economies, $1,000,000, equity (2016)
The Impact America Fund I, a $10 million fund, supports minority entrepreneurs and minority and women-owned businesses as a means of addressing unemployment and creating quality jobs. Its goal is to create 1,000 quality jobs and benefit 5 million low-moderate income individuals.

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