Nine in 10 private foundations in a new survey from Foundation Source said they were somewhat interested in impact investing.
But only 51% of foundations polled put their money where their mouth was, allocating at least a small percentage of their investment portfolios to impact investments, while 48.9% said they had not put in any of their assets.
Of foundations that were active in the sector, 3.3% said all their assets were in impact investments.
Researchers asked study participants which examples of impact investing their foundation had tried. None, said 54% of respondents.
At the same time, 28% said their foundations had tried negative investment screening, 23% said investing in for-profit companies that advance the foundation’s mission and interests, and 22% said positive investment screening.
The survey findings were based on the responses from 122 of Foundation Source’s private non-operating foundation clients (those that make grants to public charities, but are not primarily focused on running their own programs).
Of these, 46% have assets between $1 million and $10 million; 25% have less than $1 million; 23% have $11 million to $50 million; and 6% have more than $50 million.
To Invest, or Not
Among the 51% of foundations that opted for impact investing, 30% said their chief motivation was to create philanthropic impact while generating some financial return.
Twenty-two percent said they had been principally motivated by financial return.