Programs & Events

Webinar: Impact in the Balance — Refreshing the Toolkit

On September 21, 2022, The U.S. Impact Investing Alliance (the “Alliance”) and Mission Investors Exchange co-hosted a webinar to discuss the former’s recently published report on what tools foundations can use to push for greater social and environmental impacts in their balance sheets. 


  • Jim Baek, Senior Vice President with LOCUS Impact Investing and Executive Director, Community Investment Guarantee Pool
  • Grace Chionuma, Managing Director, Fixed Income Division, Morgan Stanley
  • Kimberlee Cornett, Senior Director, Impact Investments, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation 
  • Fran Seegull, President, U.S. Impact Investing Alliance
  • Mai-Anh Tran, Chief Financial Officer, Ford Foundation
You can access the report here:

What inspired this report?

  • There is continued movement to rethink how institutions leverage their entire balance sheet to support the public good, including a response to the intersecting crises of racial justice, global pandemic, and climate.
  • The Alliance sought to highlight recently used tools and strategies and capture lessons learned to ensure they feed into a broader moment rather than being isolated events. 

What were notable webinar takeaways?

  • The report represents a call to action to foundations, investment teams, and finance staffs to explore new tools and go deeper on existing practices that spur bold action, risk-taking, innovation and learning.
  • Endowed foundations have the ability to think outside of the box because of their balance sheet quality. Foundation social bond issuances were well-received by investors due to their liquidity and credit quality with issuances often having AA and AAA credit ratings.
  • Liability strategies provide beneficiaries the ability to test out new products, implement novel underwriting and risk management techniques, and get out money to communities that otherwise would not have receive capital.
  • There are a variety of MRI options at a foundation’s disposal. Determining factors include:
    • impact thesis (e.g., goals and desired results),
    • internal dynamics (e.g., team leadership, investment committees, and program team involvement)
    • capital source,
    • allocation size, and
    • level of shareholder engagement.
  • Diversity remains an area where shareholder advocacy is critical to drive impact.

How can other institutional investors learn from impact investors, and what’s next for the impact investing sector?

  • We need government action to set the table for private and non-profit sectors to build upon. As an example, webinar speakers discussed the need for a national green bank to catalyze investment in sustainable infrastructure across the country.
  • Scaling occurs with public dollars, and impact investors have the opportunity to catalyze significant, targeted investment with recently passed legislation.
  • Corporations need to be more accountable to workers and the environment. They have committed billions to racial equity, but there is still significant work to ensure that capital is flowing and corporate commitments remain in place.

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