Solutions Consultant, LOCUS Impact Investing
The staff of the Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation(AAACF) has taken to calling their foundation “a community impact engine” where the whole staff – finance, administration, development, program – works in service of impact. “It’s a virtuous cycle… create impact, build endowment, create more impact, build more endowment,” said Jillian Rosen, the foundation’s Vice President for Community Investment.
In 2015, the foundation embarked on three-pronged, data-driven assessment of their work. First, with help from the Center for Effective Philanthropy, they conducted a survey to gather candid feedback from the foundation’s donors. Second, they interviewed professional advisors to see how they viewed the foundation and to ask how they could be a better service in the community. Finally, working with CF Insights, they identified six “aspirational peers” or foundations from similar communities that had experienced remarkable growth, and spoke with them about their work and their approaches to asset development.
The movement of foundations from being donor driven to impact driven is a common trend among community foundations exploring and adopting local impact investing. It makes a foundation more likely to reach for the appropriate tool – whether it be endowment building, grantmaking, convening, educating or investing – to address a specific community challenge. Making that culture change, like in Ann Arbor, is most successful when it includes foundation staff, the board, donors and community partners. For more information about the work of Ann Arbor Area Community Foundation visit AAACF.org. To learn how LOCUS Impact Investing can support your foundation with culture change as a prerequisite to local impact investing, contact Sydney England.
The full and original article can be viewed on LocusImpactInvesting.org
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