Monday, February 11, 2008

Investing for Change

There is a (wee) bit of a movement afoot in philanthropy - small, but growing. It is the movement toward using endowed assets as part of a foundation's change strategies - I've written about it before as "aligned investing." (posts here, here, here, here, and here)

Just last week the PRI Makers Network (PRI stands for Program Related Investments) met in New Orleans. Video footage of the Network meetings is now available on The Giving Channel.*

What signs point to a movement? Several - growth in the PRI Makers Network. A peer-to-peer challenge, called the 2% Challenge to get foundations to invest in ways that advance their social missions. Socially responsible investing is itself the fastest growing segment of managed assets. (source, Social Investment Forum). Growth in clean tech and green tech investment vehicles, many of which are backed by endowment assets. Third party resources on the subject. - OK, I said, it is a small movement now. We'll be watching to see if it grows. You can watch those who are already a part of the action over at the Giving Channel (and suggest resources, join in the Forum discussion, and suggest other topics for similar coverage).

*I am executive producer of The Giving Channel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Adopt A Park

The foundations should take a bold standard to take from the government and endow a service.

I am going to be a little bold and ask they start with Parks. All public parks should be publicly owned by the government but be privately run and funded by nonprofits. This is the right opportunity for businesses to make a pledge to effect the environmental future of the US. Congress should pass a law that exempts these nonprofit entities from being sued. Government has never adequately funded its parks and people use these facilities at their own risk. The exclusion from lawsuits to the stewards for the people does not take away a benefit that people already had.

Government should be out of the business of running services. They are just lousy at it. Some of you might say that government should not cut what parks it already funds. I would disagree and state that there should be a gradual decline to zero. The parks of our nation need to have an endowment established by business and individual donors to support their access to all people and manage them. To adequately manage the parks takes commitment by many of us to volunteer to be stewards and the endowed funds to ensure a standard for their preservation. Any employee necessary to support the park functions should be an employee of the nonprofit steward organization.

The only part that an organization should not be responsible for is security. Security is the function of federal, state and local officials.
Government needs to have the political strength to set a plan and request volunteers, organizations and donors to step forward to take on the stewardship of their respective park system.