Programs & Events

Mission Investing Institute: Arts and the Creative Economy

A virtual impact investing training focused on arts and the creative economy.

In April 2022, Mission Investors Exchange, Grantmakers in the Arts, and Upstart Co-Lab hosted the Mission Investing Institute: Arts and the Creative Economy, a two-day, virtual impact investing training specifically focused on the arts and the creative economy. The Institute consisted of two, 3-hour sessions on April 7 and 8, 2022, with an optional, introductory impact investment training on April 6th.
Designed for senior foundation staff working in arts and creativity, and finance or investment professionals at endowed cultural institutions, the Institute was intended to help foundations leverage their endowments to amplify their arts programs and activate cultural institutions as values-aligned investors. Institute participants walked away with the following, and more:
  • An overview of the impact investing landscape, including commonly used tools and terms
  • Strategies for measuring and managing impact
  • Concrete examples of structuring, sourcing, diligence
  • An understanding of how organizations are incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion goals into investments
  • Ideas for applying impact investing concepts in the context of arts, design, culture, and creativity — and lessons from existing investments
  • New connections and networks to support the development of your impact investing programs
Participation in the Institute was reserved for senior staff at foundations supporting art, design, culture, heritage, and creativity and finance or investment professionals at cultural institutions (e.g. museum, library, performing arts center, park, zoo) with endowments of $5 million or more. The cost to attend the Institute was $350 per person.


Investment Spotlights: Honeycomb Credit, Paskho, & Runway

In this session, attendees heard from three founders and entrepreneurs in the Upstart Co-Lab investment pipeline. All three companies participate in the creative economy, deliver deep impact rooted in their communities, and bring risk adjusted financial return.
  • Laura Callanan, Founding Partner of Upstart Co-Lab
  • George Cook, CEO and Co-Founder of Honeycomb Credit
  • Jessica Norwood, Founder of Runway 
  • Patrick Robinson, Founder of Paskho
Creative economy contributors are economic disrupters and financial innovators.
  • Runway offers a loan fund for black entrepreneurs that closes the friends and family funding gap and reimages financial policies and practices.
  • Honeycomb Credit provides access to capital to BIPOC and women entrepreneurs who are launching creative economy businesses. An intentional lending approach that allows their own customers, fans, and community members to co-invest.
  • Paskho, a travel apparel brand, focuses on revitalizing American manufacturing by bringing skilled making and manufacturing jobs back to parts of the United States that have experienced historical racial and social inequalities. 
A successful creative economy is closely connected to creating positive social outcomes in a community.
  • Investing in the entrepreneurship pipeline of BIPOC communities is a way of advancing wealth building and resiliency.
  • Businesses can use the power of community capital and community banking. 
  • Creating new tools and policies like community-based underwriting and wraparound services disrupts levels of bias, helps distribute capital more equitably, and brings community values into reviewing opportunities.  
Foundation catalytic capital necessary can foster investment in historically disinvested communities, businesses, and creative entrepreneurs. Foundations can:
  • Provide grants that focus on skills training for community-centered manufacturing jobs.
  • Partner with community-led capital funds that finance small business in BIPOC communities.
  • Contribute to loan participation funds that act as a matching funds partnership, a new vehicle that allows foundations to invest alongside community-driven investors.
Watch the video of the session.

Investment Spotlight: Racial Justice

In April 2022, Mission Investors Exchange, Grantmakers in the Arts, and Upstart Co-Lab hosted the Mission Investing Institute: Arts and the Creative Economy, a two-day, virtual impact investing training specifically focused on the arts and the creative economy. 
In this session, panelists shared strategies for addressing racial justice with endowments, challenging charitable institutions to think about “the other 95%” of endowment assets not federally required for mission-related programs.   
  • James Wahls, Senior Vice President, Programs and Initiatives
  • Maxwell Anderson, President at Souls Grown Deep Foundation
  • Michelle RhodesBrown, Director of Finance & Investments, The Walters Art Museum
  • Jasmine Richards, Managing Director, Head of Diverse Manager Research at Cambridge Associates
When adding a racial justice lens to investments, it is imperative to understand your “why” and “what success looks like” from the start.
  • It is important to incorporate racial justice goals in the entire organization and in all aspects of the organization. 
  • Investing with firms led by women and people of color, having diverse teams and investment committee members, and adding diverse funds into retirement plan options all create intentionality and commitment.
With an expansion of depth and thoughtfulness around the implementation of racial justice practices, impact measurement is crucial to define. 
  • Impact is more than “how much money did we give?” It requires being thoughtful about the results to measure, the effects on the industry at- large, and elevating the voice and power of historically divested communities.
  • Impact measurement is about digging deeper. It’s not only looking at management firm ownership but the diversity of the management committee, investment teams, decision makers, and portfolio management team.
Since asset management and investing are among the largest drivers of personal wealth, racial justice champions are working to ensure they are more equitable. Challenge yourself, your organization and leadership to think about “the other 95%.”
  • Mission-aligned organizations have a responsibility to be deliberate in how they use every resource to benefit the communities they serve and their pipelines.
  • Be a magnifying glass looking to attract resources into communities and incentivize large foundations, family foundations, and other endowed institutions to deploy their capital.
Watch the video of the session.


Pre-Program: April 6, 2-3PM ET

  • Optional Pre-Session: The Fundamentals of Impact Investing

Day 1: April 7, 1-4PM ET

  • The Case for Impact Investing in the Creative Economy
  • Investment Spotlight: Racial Justice
  • Applying the Learning: Getting Started in Impact Investing

Day 2: April 8, 1-4PM ET

  • Small Group Networking
  • Investment Spotlights: Creative Industries
  • Resources for Identifying and Assessing Impact

  • Maxwell Anderson, Souls Grown Deep Foundation
  • Andrea Armeni, Transform Finance
  • Laura Callanan, Upstart Co-Lab
  • Caitlin Caspersen, Builders Initiative
  • Allison Clark, John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation
  • Joanna Cohen, Builders Vision
  • George Cook, Honeycomb Credit
  • Chris Crothers, Jessie Ball duPont Fund
  • Tracy Kartye, Annie E. Casey Foundation
  • Noelle Laing, Builders Asset Management
  • Jessica Norwood, Runway
  • Matt Onek, Mission Investors Exchange
  • Ethan Powell, Impact Shares
  • Michelle RhodesBrown, Walters Art Museum
  • Patrick Robinson, Paskho
  • Debra Schwartz, MacArthur Foundation
  • Gary Steuer, Bonfils Stanton Foundation
  • Roy Swan, Ford Foundation
  • Diederik Timmer, Sustainalytics
  • Eddie Torres, Grantmakers in the Arts
  • James Wahls, Mission Investors Exchange

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