Tools & Resources

Impact Investing: A 21st Century Tool to Attract and Retain Donors

This paper in the Foundation Review authored by leaders of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF), discusses their approach to impact investing, specific investments made, and the process behind their decision to offer impacting investing alternatives to donor advisors— thus recycling their donor-advised fund’s charitable capital in a way that provides a social return in the community as well as a small financial return.


  • While due diligence and risk management of the financial return for these investments is crucial, the social return to be achieved is the primary consideration.
  • Donors can achieve a modest financial return, which is recycled into their donor-advised fund, by investing locally in projects that make a significant difference.
  • The cost of an impact-investment program can be viewed as an investment in the community – much like a grant. If the individual investments are made carefully, the net effect should be a greater impact than grants alone can achieve.


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