The Ford Foundation is dedicated to investing in innovative ideas, visionary leaders, and organizations advancing human dignity around the world. Its watershed commitment to invest $1 billion directly from its endowment into mission-related investments over the next 10 years is a further extension of that mission. By announcing this commitment, the largest of its kind from a private philanthropic organization, the foundation declared that impact investing is not just for the private sector or individual investors.
Foundations like Ford typically spend 5% of their endowments on their mission-aligned grants and the remaining 95% percent on investments that will maintain and grow their endowments. However, Ford’s commitment signals a shift in philanthropic organizations using their financial assets to gain both social and financial returns.
Ford’s MRIs thus far are aimed at challenges that are central to disrupting inequality and focus mainly on private markets. In 1968, the foundation pioneered the use of program-related investments – or PRIs – and since then has invested more than $630 million in the form of debt capital, equity, and guarantees. Now, Ford’s PRIs are targeting opportunities to advance first-time impact investing fund managers, with a priority to support management teams that are diverse in terms of race and gender.
Ford is committed to continuing this legacy of innovative investments by building the impact investing field globally. In the People’s Republic of China, and around the world, Ford is grant making to build the field of mission-related investments, program-related investments and other forms of impacting investing, as well as ensuring that the field is diverse, inclusive, and equitable.
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