A recent evaluation of the Western New York Impact Investment Fund adds to the proof-of-concept literature regarding “doing good and doing well” while pointing to experience-based best practices in philanthropic impact investing. Born of a collaboration between regional and national philanthropies, the fund brings together corporate, individual, and philanthropic investors to deliver an inclusive impact investment mechanism. Founded in 2017, the fund evolved from concept to operating entity, focusing on mitigating capital gaps, longterm economic decline, and wealth divides.
Evaluation at Year 5 describes how the professionally managed, collaboratively governed fund has attracted and deployed capital, contributing to ecosystem improvements and concrete results. Portfolio companies have created jobs with livable wages, reduced carbon footprints, reclaimed abandoned space, and committed to maintain operations in the region long term.
Alongside these impacts, investors’ stakes have increased in value and realized returns. Performance bred opportunity and its second round of fundraising, 42% larger than the first, brought the total under management to over $20 million. With this evaluation, the Western New York Impact Investment Fund articulates lessons for the fund, foundation investors, and intermediaries seeking to nurture place-based impact investing.
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Kerman, B., & Miller, C. (2022). A Promising Place-Based Collaborative Impact Investing Fund Strengthens Community and Informs Philanthropic Practice. The Foundation Review, 14(4). https://doi.org/10.9707/1944-5660.1631