Editor’s note: The Heron Foundation, which seeks to help communities out of poverty, has used innovative financial techniques to reach their goal of 100% of their endowment towards mission. What’s next? The following is written by Clara Miller and excerpted from the Stanford Social Innovation Review.
Our mission at the Heron Foundation is to help people and communities help themselves out of poverty. Back in 2012, we determined that the challenges we were trying to address demanded every resource we could muster. So we decided to invest 100 percent of our endowment towards fulfilling our mission, by fiscal year end 2017… We achieved that goal on December 21, 2016. Now, shouldn’t we be relaxing a bit, counting our assets, burnishing our image, and taking our bows (possibly peeling ourselves a few grapes)? Well, of course not. We always knew that “getting to 100 percent,” while important, would be like reaching a false summit. The challenges remain, and they loom large… That’s why, going forward, we will work to optimize our portfolio for mission and finance together. But beyond that, we will strive to capture and share what we’ve learned, and improve our approach to investing so that we can contribute to improving practices in the broader market. In that spirit, we would like to share some lessons we learned on the path to our “100 percent” goal, as well as our thoughts on the significance of those lessons and our own plans for the future.
Find the rest of the article on the Stanford Social Innovation Review’s website.