Programs & Events

Virtual Learning Opportunity: Ford Foundation’s Journey to Commit $1 Billion to Impact Investing

In 2017, the Ford Foundation announced a commitment of up to $1 billion over ten years to Mission Related Investments (MRIs) that “earn not only attractive financial returns but concrete social returns as well”. To date, the foundation has committed over $170 million.
This Virtual Learning Opportunity (VLO) will feature a discussion on the recently published Harvard Business School case studies, “Mission Related Investments at the Ford Foundation (A) and (B)”which explores Ford Foundation's reasoning behind devoting $1BN of their endowment to their MRI program, design choices that were made in its development, and potential problems or tradeoffs to implementing such a program. The discussion will cover the establishment of the Mission Investments program at the Ford Foundation, its progress and evolution, and its substantive early results. Moderated by Harvard Business School Professor Shawn Cole, the webinar will explore the following questions:
  • What were the biggest challenges Trustees faced on the road to the $1 billion approval?
  • How did the foundation choose its two original investment focus areas and why did it add three more?
  • How does the foundation measure social impact?
  • How does a New York-based team manage investments not only in the U.S. but also across Africa, Asia, and Latin America?
  • What are the financial and social returns to date?
  • What have been the most important lessons learned, failures, and victories?
  • What big ideas are on the Mission Investments team’s strategic agenda for the future?
Continue scrolling for the Virtual Learning Opportunity recording. If you have any questions please contact Karla Moreno at [email protected].


  • Bikram Chandra, Portfolio Manager – Mission Investments, Ford Foundation
  • Shawn A. Cole, John G. McLean Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School (Moderator)
  • Christine Looney, Deputy Director of Mission Investments, Ford Foundation  
  • Sayiddah McCree, Investment Associate – Mission Investments, Ford Foundation
  • Gerry Pambo-Awich, Mission Investments Officer, Ford Foundation
  • Roy Swan, Director of Mission Investments, Ford Foundation
  • Megan Walsh Thompson, Mission Investments Officer, Ford Foundation


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