The Tipping Point Fund Aims to Protect Integrity in Impact Investing
A group of foundations has launched a fund meant to safeguard the “impact” in impact investing as the practice grows and more traditional investment firms enter the market.
With an inaugural $12.5 million in funding from a group of nine foundations and family offices, the Tipping Point Fund will provide catalytic grant capital in areas of field building unlikely to be funded through market activity alone. Specifically, the effort will focus on public engagement and public policy to help grow the impact investing industry, along with metrics and measurement to provide clarity as it develops.
“The Tipping Point Fund is a clarion call to action for those who are committed to the sustainability and well-being of the impact investing market,” Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, said in a statement. “While we are pleased to welcome so many new entrants to this space and to witness the surge in capital invested for impact, there is also a shared obligation to support the field in order to close critical market gaps.”
In addition to Ford, the fund’s inaugural funders are Omidyar Network, Rockefeller Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Packard Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Blue Haven Initiative, Rockefeller Brothers Fund and Visa Foundation. The U.S. Impact Investing Alliance facilitated the co-design of the fund and will assist in managing its operations.
The fund’s first RFPs—focused on public policy and engagement—are set to go out by the end of the year, with the first group of grantees expected to be announced in the first quarter of 2020. The funding range for initial grants is still being decided.
As the number of impact investment options have exploded in recent years, foundations and other participants have been on guard to ensure that capital deployed in the spirit of social and environmental impact is being invested as intended. This is particularly true as bigger asset managers, such as Goldman Sachs and BlackRock, and private-equity funds, such as TPG, Bain Capital, and KKR, have enter the market.
“At a time in which deep-seated skepticism and criticism has emerged about the role of capital in our society, the Tipping Point Fund will look to position impact investing as one of the critical tools needed by policymakers and investors to contribute to a more equitable future for all,” Fran Seegull, executive director of The U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, said in the statement.