So What is Mission Aligned Investing?
Plainly and simply, Mission Aligned Investing (MAI) is using your investments to truly fulfill your mission.
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Why is Mission Alignment Important?
Here’s the story: the IRS requires foundations to disperse 5% of their assets annually. This money typically goes to grants, salaries, and overhead to fulfill a foundation’s mission. The other 95% is almost always invested in Wall Street stock and bond markets or in hedge funds and other private markets. The investment goal is to make as much money for the foundation as possible. Rarely does the foundation’s mission have anything to do with these investments. These are dollars — one trillion dollars — which could be performing the double duty of growing returns and working for the changes our society and planet so urgently need if they were in fact invested in alignment with foundations’ missions.
How Does This Actually Look Behind the Curtain?
When foundations take a hard look at this 95%, most discover that their investments are at odds with their programmatic work. For example, foundations that work to address the climate crisis often find they have large holdings in oil and fracking. If you measured the 5% and 95% against foundations’ missions, most would receive large negative scores.
Fiduciary responsibility means that mission should be the core stakeholder: period. Financial gain does not have to be compromised in order to stay true to one’s mission. In fact, mission aligned endowments are typically on par financially with non-aligned endowments, and often do better than those that seek only financial gain.
What is The UnTours Foundation’s Commitment to MAI?
Our foundation has been 100% mission aligned since our founding 30 years ago. Our endowment has been a revolving loan fund that we invest in entrepreneurs, who create jobs for vulnerable populations, solve social and economic problems, and make the health of our planet a serious priority. We are 100% mission aligned!
Is Your Foundation Practicing or Looking to Practice Mission Aligned Investing?
We’d love to hear from you! If you need assistance, we are here to help! Please reach out.
Here are some of the resources we can offer:
- We are happy to present mission aligned investing to your board or staff. And we are honored to guide you in a process to align your endowment with your mission. Here’s one of our HuffPost blogs that offers one way to undertake the alignment process.
- What is your fiduciary responsibility? To your mission: first and foremost. Here are our two articles from wealthmanagement.com on the subject.
- We encourage transparency of all endowments. Read this excellent article on the topic by Clara Miller, President Emerita of the Heron Foundation. Here’s our guide for reimagining the narrative of your 990-PF or 990.
- Our Co-CEO, Elizabeth, explains mission aligned investing in this podcast.
- Here’s our 990 – 990 PF “Toolkit” on how to include your full endowment on your tax return.
Contact Elizabeth Killough for more information about our Mission Aligned Investing services.