Expanding Philanthropy: Mission-Related Investing at the F.B. Heron Foundation

School of Community Economic Development (Southern New Hampshire U.)



Case Study Sector


In a 1996 meeting, directors of the F.B. Heron Foundation realized they were spending too much time reviewing a particular investment manager’s performance and too little time discussing Heron programs. It was time to reevaluate priorities. The foundation’s social mission and tax-exempt status suggested that it should be more than a private investment company using excess cash for charitable purposes. It needed to be different from conventional investment managers. Heron concluded that the 5 percent payout requirement was the narrowest expression of its philanthropic goals. The other 95 percent of assets, the corpus, could give the board the tools it needed for greater social impact. Staff members were encouraged to explore ways in which Heron could engage more of its assets through a combination of grants and mission-related investment strategies. The foundation decided to leverage an increasing amount of its resources to pursue its mission and to maximize its impact in low-income communities.



  • Strategy


  • Northern America

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