Many NTAs are interested in using program-related investments and other so-called “impact investing” approaches to fund activities, rather than traditional grants. Impact investing uses an organization’s assets to advance mission while recovering principal or earning a financial return. It is attractive to NTAs for many reasons. There is the potential of recycling dollars; an ability to combine resources from several sources, including traditional foundations; and an opportunity to invest in for-profit organizations, as well as in nonprofits.
Interestingly, traditional health foundations are experimenting with these strategies as well, sometimes in partnership with NTAs. Many foundations use impact investments to deploy a greater share of their resources to advance mission and to ensure that their organizational assets are not working at cross-purposes with mission and grant strategy.
GIH began work related to nontraditional funding strategies with the release of the GIH Guide to Impact Investing in May, 2011. In 2013, GIH partnered with Arabella Advisors to examine the emerging role of nontraditional actors in a report called Health Philanthropy: New Players and New Approaches.
Recognizing the growing interest in nontraditional funding strategies, we are in the process of developing additional programming and products. In the coming months, these new offerings will include:
A 2015 GIH annual conference session: Small Foundations and Impact Investing, featuring key players and topics in the NTA field
An Issue Focus article about Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)
An updated Guide to Impact Investing with new case studies and evaluation data
An Issue Focus analyzing the pros and cons of social impact bonds