Although the good works done by foundations are usually in the grant-making area, lately an SRI mindset is also occurring on the investment side, says Page Snow, senior VP of foundation services with FoundationSource, a company that provides an outsourced method of setting up and running private foundations .
As younger generations take a more active role in family foundations, Snow says she has seen a shift from screening out companies for negative reasons to actively seeking profitable companies with strong environmental records. The goals and ideals of the foundation are now not only being used for guidance in choosing beneficiaries, but also to select how the foundation invests its endowment.
“It’s a little disingenuous to have this bifurcation on the investment side versus the programmatic side,” she says. “One thing that might be spurring this change is that a number of foundations have been very public that a certain percentage of their investments are toward mission-related investments or socially responsible investments and they’re getting as good if not better returns than from their other investments.”