Impact Investing

By Jessamyn Lau 

I realised today that we never blogged about our impact investing -or social investing. A new tab appeared on our website a few months ago, which we still need to populate with some descriptive text, and that was about all we did to announce the beginning of our impact investing. There was a little bit more to it than that, but still not any intense planning or strategising. We’re not aiming to build a big portfolio, and if anything our impact investments may just merge with our other portfolios.

Here’s a little more on our decision to start impact investing, from a recent blog post with Social Velocity:

“Nell: The Peery Foundation is one of few foundations that do mission-related investments. How did you decide to move into that realm and what do you think holds other foundation back from MRIs?

Jessamyn: Our primary function is to support and serve the social entrepreneurs we work with. We try to keep our funding as flexible as possible. Peery Foundation funding is generally unrestricted and the structure of a grant is often co-crafted with the entrepreneur. We have come to realize that entrepreneurs with differing business models, or at differing life-cycle stages, need different types of capital. Once we believe in a SE and their model for addressing poverty we want to always be open to providing the type of capital that they need at the time they need it.

We’re still at an early stage in developing our capacity to provide debt and other funding outside of philanthropy. In our philanthropic funding we’re not paper heavy and our agreements are very trust-based. It was definitely daunting to explore this new realm of traditional investment due diligence and contractual agreements. So far we’ve found the kind of support we need to help us make the leap fairly painlessly through the Toniic Network, and from sources such as Silicon Valley Community Foundation and University Impact Fund, and still feel like we’re able to retain our low-paper, trust based partnership approach to the extent that makes sense.”

Here is the full interview on the Social Velocity website, which covers a few other topics too, like social media and transparency.