In an evolving world with complex social and environmental challenges, the nonprofit, public, and private sectors all have important roles to play. While grantmaking is the primary tool for advancing our mission, the challenges we tackle with our partners benefit from flexible funding to grow and scale good ideas. Mission investing provides a significant opportunity to bring new resources, new thinking, scale, and sustainability to organizations that are driving social and environmental change.
Since 1980, the Packard Foundation has made over 250 mission investments totaling $750 million to organizations that support the mission of the Foundation and generate both social and environmental returns. We dedicate up to $180 million of our endowment at a given time to such investments. The Foundation makes Program-Related Investments (PRIs), as defined by the IRS and typically produce below-market returns. The Foundation may also consider similar investments which may yield market-rate returns, often referred to as Mission-Related Investments (MRIs). Collectively, these investments – which may be loans, equity investments, or guarantees – serve as a flexible tool for non-profit and for-profit organizations to tackle the world’s most pressing problems, sometimes on a much larger scale than we are able to do with grants alone.
We pursue investments that connect deeply with the issues our founders cared about most: improving the lives of children, enabling the creative pursuit of science, advancing reproductive health, and conserving and restoring the earth’s natural systems. Past investments have supported affordable access to family planning services, the launch of food banks and family nutrition programs, the growth of sustainable forestry models, and the creation of a global biofuels certification system, among others.
The Change We Seek
As an impact-first investor, the highest return we seek is social and environmental impact to advance our grantmaking strategies. We envision a future where deeply impactful and innovative investments are integral to philanthropic funders’ work and prevalent throughout the mission investing field. We want our investees to thrive, seize time sensitive opportunities, and scale efforts for maximum impact; and we want to continue to collaborate with other investors to move the needle on the issues that were so important to our founders.