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Putting our Corpus to Work – The IDP Foundation Embraces Impact Investing

November 2014
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At the IDP Foundation, we are always looking for ways to maximize our impact. We work hard to find highly effective, but underfunded programs that address clear needs in education and healthcare – and if we can’t find the right program…well, we build it ourselves! This is the approach we took when we created the Rising Schools Program several years ago.

Over the last few years, we have been expanding that sense of innovation beyond our grant-making portfolio and into the investment strategy of our corpus, or the “other 95%” of assets that we are not obligated to give away in any one year. Typically, foundations invest their corpus with an eye solely toward risk-adjusted returns, trying to grow the corpus so that there is more money to give away next year. While that may seem like a reasonable goal, we wanted to maximize the impact of these assets and dig a little deeper. Is it possible to create as much change with investments as it is with money we give away?

Pursuing this question has led us to become increasingly engaged in impact investing. Impact investments are “investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate social and environmental impact alongside a financial return”. With the help of our financial advisors, we are excited to now include impact investing as another way to put philanthropic dollars to work, to generate even more positive change. We are proud that 80% of the investments of the corpus of the Foundation are mission aligned. Our diversified portfolio includes pure impact investments and positive and negative screened investments, to ensure that we are holistically fulfilling the mission of the IDP Foundation to use philanthropy as a means to support sustainable investment in educational initiatives. However, given that the impact investing space is still developing in terms of product offerings in the education sector, our investments also target environmental stewardship, human capital management, and sustainable community impact. The IDP Foundation is committed to finding new and innovative approaches to break the cycle of poverty, and we believe that charitable organizations have an obligation to use all of their resources, not just their grant dollars, towards achieving their missions. We are excited to combine smart philanthropy with mission aligned impact investing that will significantly amplify our impact.

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