Today's entrepreneurial philanthropists seek strategies to make positive social impact and multiply their financial impact.

Impact investing is any type of investment structured to generate both a financial return and a measurable social or environmental return. This strategy that achieves both goals is one reason more philanthropists are choosing Seattle Foundation as their philanthropic partner.

Seattle Foundation philanthropists can participate in impact investments through a Community Philanthropy Fund, Family/Personal Foundation, or Corporate Foundation, including loan guarantees, loans to nonprofit organizations or equity investments in a business (subject to qualifying criteria and financial feasibility standards). These investments can be made in for-profit companies working toward positive social and environmental change, and in nonprofit organizations with revenue streams. The principal is generally returned (according to the terms of the specific investment) and the income generated is also returned to the philanthropist's fund, continuing the cycle of social investment.

Seattle Foundation has been helping philanthropists make impact investments for more than a decade. Our region is flush with entrepreneurs eager to apply private sector financing strategies and discipline to social change, but it can be difficult to know which impact investments deliver the best outcomes. Seattle Foundation’s team relies on years of expertise and in-depth community knowledge to help philanthropists make investment decisions that meet both their financial and community impact goals.

How it Works

Philanthropists with a Community Philanthropy Fund can invest in one of Seattle Foundation’s current offerings, which are generated by our team and designed to support one of our investment priorities. If you have a Family Foundation, you can both participate in our current offerings as well as propose an impact investment in a company or nonprofit organization that you identify (subject to qualifying criteria and minimums, board approval and due diligence). This is a great way to mobilize multiple philanthropists to support a project or organization of common interest. For most impact investments, the minimum per philanthropists’ fund is $25,000. The overall investment must meet a minimum of $100,000 and a term of three years or longer.

Seattle Foundation Impact Investing Criteria

  • Addresses our Healthy Community Framework

  • Addresses economic and racial equity

  • Generates ample donor interest

  • Located within geographic focus area

For more information or to get started with impact investing, contact Michael Brown (206.515.2132 or email)

  • 11.64%

    To date, this is the average annualized IRR across all of Alder Fund’s and the Green Canopy energy performance investment is predicting a final return of around 12% for the fund.

    Impact Investing - solar energy - glass door with gray overlay
  • 1,541

    Number of jobs generated for immigrant and minority small business owners and entrepreneurs. Impact Investment included 674 loans totaling $48.1M, with 75 loans to women/minority owned business and 11 loans to support community facilities.

    man looking at shelves at food bank with gray overlay
  • 985,000

    Lives improved by the Global Partnerships Social Investment Fund in 2010 that had 121 loans made to 42 partners, of which 78% of the total borrowers were women and 55% of total borrowers resided in rural areas.

    woman dancing with gray overlay

Impact Investing is an innovative approach for philanthropists who wish to expand their impact beyond grantmaking to include direct investment of their philanthropic dollars into projects and endeavors that further the public good.

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