A group of foundations and family office networks launched this week a $12.5 million grant-making fund to encourage more infrastructure for the impact investing lane.
The initiative has the potential to make impact investing a more attractive avenue for financial advisors to pursue because its backers are seeking to standardize and simplify measurements of success, ultimately making the asset classes easier to explain and market to clients.
Among the donors are some of the biggest names in the philanthropic world, including The Ford Foundation, the Omidyar Network, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation and the Visa Foundation.
The fund will support public engagement and policy efforts, including targeting campaigns to influence platforms in the 2020 elections, according to Fran Seegull, executive director of the U.S. Impact Investing Alliance, which helped coordinate efforts to launch the fund, which will bear the name The Tipping Point Fund.
The fund hopes to attract additional donors, including stakeholders in the financial services and asset management industry, Seegull confirmed.
“The Tipping Point Fund has and will continue to identify gaps and weaknesses in the market, in particular, looking for places where collective action is most promising, and most needed,” Seegull told reporters at a press conference.
“Throughout the history of impact investing some key milestones have come as a result of government paving the way,” she added. “On the other hand, we want to see more diverse participation from retail and institutional investors.”
The fund’s advocacy coincides with “a time in which deep-seated skepticism and criticism have emerged about the role of capital in our society,” Seegull noted.
Impact investing is “one of the critical tools needed by policymakers and investors to contribute to a more equitable future for all,” she said.
Seegull said the fund has also set as a priority data metrics and measurement “to provide greater clarity to market actors and ensure high standards of impact accountability.”
“The organic growth of impact investment has led to some market confusion in this area” and “a proliferation of standards,” she said.
“There are some bad actors that would take advantage of this confusion, to engage and impact Washington, or deny the need for impact transparency to suit their own interests,” Seegull added.