Investing for Impact

Hayfield, Bend in the Road Farm, Union. 
Photo by Bridget Besaw, courtesy Maine Farmland Trust

The Maine Community Foundation serves people who share a common interest: enhancing the quality of life in Maine. Given its place-based focus and commitment to activate resources to meet its mission, the Maine Community Foundation has added impact investments to its philanthropic toolbox.

Unlike traditional grants, impact investments are intended to generate targeted social benefit and a financial return.

Mission-related investments generate benefits to communities and the entire state while allowing principal—and often modest returns—to be recovered and redeployed to address social issues.

Greater access to capital allows innovators and entrepreneurs from both the nonprofit and for-profit world to develop products and services that will meet the needs of people and communities not adequately served by the existing marketplace. The Maine Community Foundation welcomes your participation in this exciting venture.

To provide opportunities for donors to pool charitable resources in support of strategic goals, the Maine Community Foundation has identified two key areas for initial investments:

We invite you to be a partner in our impact investing program. There are three ways you can participate:

  • Make a permanent transfer from your donor-advised fund.
  • Make a transfer from your donor-advised fund that will revert to the fund after seven years with its share of investment returns. Gains and losses will be distributed across participating funds. As with any investment, there is a risk to principal.
  • Make a new permanent charitable contribution or set up a new donor-advised fund.

The Maine Community Foundation works with community development finance institutions and other intermediaries to match its capital with the most promising projects and companies. These intermediaries typically provide technical assistance to the companies and projects to which they lend money to increase the likelihood of success and mitigate risk.

The community foundation’s Impact Investing Committee, board members and experts in the field, provide oversight of the investments.They choose impact investing intermediaries and direct investments while monitoring the portfolios over time. The first impact investments were made in summer 2014. The community foundation will report annually on these investments and provide opportunities for donor investors to learn more about the impact of this work.

Read more about the foundation's recent impact investments in Maine.

The Maine Community Foundation welcomes your interest and questions. Please contact Jen Southard, vice president for donor services and gift planning, at jsouthard@mainecf.org or  (207) 412-0842.