Community Foundations Initiative

Activating community foundations are key to the larger impact investing movement



What We’re Doing

Impact Finance Center (IFC) identifies, educates, and activates impact investors and develops community infrastructure (i.e. Impact Investing Institute and CO Impact Days). Our initiatives – focused on Women, Climate Forests, Diverse Managers, and Community Foundations, among others – include courses (e.g. online, in-person, and hybrid), podcasts, case studies, tools, and thought leadership articles.

The First Step: Identify

National Community Foundation Impact Investing Landscape Scan: Gilson Family Foundation funded Essex County Community Foundation to partner with IFC to identify the top 10 community foundations engaging in impact investing. As part of this work, we interviewed and developed case studies for each of the following community foundations:

  • Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation
  • Community Foundation of St. Clair County
  • Community Foundation of Utah
  • Marin Community Foundation
  • New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
  • Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation
  • Topeka Community Foundation
  • Van Wert County Foundation
  • Women’s Foundation of Colorado

The Second Step: Educate

One-Day Workshop + Five Sessions: IFC offers in-person workshops for community foundations to gather and explore financial innovation, full spectrum capital and impact investing in a small group format.

Webinar Series: IFC also offers online education for community foundations to learn from each other. In 2023, IFC is hosting 3 public webinars to showcase the community foundations that participated in the National Community Impact Investing Landscape Scan (above).

Impact Investing Institute: Beyond live events and webinars, IFC offers access to recorded educational content on the Impact Investing Institute that community foundation leaders can engage with at their own pace.

Courageous Capital Stewards Podcast: Dr. Steph and IFC Senior Advisors interview those community foundation leaders taking brave steps to align and leverage the assets they steward for their communities.

Learning Circles: IFC develops cohorts of community foundations wanting to go on a journey to learn about full spectrum capital and the IFC toolbox, which contains over 100+ tools and examples of community infrastructure.

The Third Step: Activate

The Philanthropic Opportunity Scan:Ready to put your newfound financial innovation, full spectrum capital and financial innovation knowledge into practice. IFC offers advisory services to support community foundations to facilitate their own Philanthropic Opportunity Scan to source impact investments within their own philanthropic portfolio.

Design a Community Foundation Impact Investing Strategy in 5 Steps

  1. Map Nonprofit Grantee Investments: Philanthropic Opportunity Scan
  2. Map Intermediaries: National Intermediary Landscape Scan
  3. Map Community Foundation Impact Investing Leaders: National Community Foundation Impact Investing Landscape Scan
  4. Map Individuals, Foundations, Family Offices, and Corporations who want to invest
  5. Develop the strategy