Publications

Improving Community Health by Strengthening Community Investment: Roles for Hospitals and Health Systems

March, 2017

“What can communities do to make it easier to attract and deploy capital and leverage other assets to achieve their social goals?”  This question, central to the concept of capital absorption, is addressed in this report which applies the concept to hospitals and health systems.  With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Robin Hacke (Kresge) and Katie Grace Deane (IRI) expand their work on capital absorption into the area of hospitals and health systems, examining how these institutions may be able to drive community health improvements by investing in the social determinants of health. Read more about Improving Community Health by Strengthening Community Investment: Roles for Hospitals and Health Systems

Readings and Resources on Corporate Board Diversity

October, 2016

A list of links and brief descriptions of recent research, news articles and tools for trustees thinking about the business case for corporate board diversity. Created as a resource for the TLF Webinar Series.

Why and How Might Investors Respond to Economic Inequality?

October 2016
This discussion paper, written for a series of international PRI Roundtables in Japan, Singapore, South Africa, the UK and the US, examines growing economic inequality, its impacts on economic growth, and how investors can respond.  Inequality, in some ways, is a  parallel to climate change in terms of responsible investment, emerging as a paradigmatic instance of the S in ESG, as climate risk is to the E.  Calls for investors to address inequality, perhaps most prominently in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, are bringing heightened attention to this issue.  This paper is a tool for investors to think about economic inequality in a fiduciary context.

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Improving Community Health by Strengthening Community Investment: Roles for Hospitals and Health Systems

March, 2017

“What can communities do to make it easier to attract and deploy capital and leverage other assets to achieve their social goals?”  This question, central to the concept of capital absorption, is addressed in this report which applies the concept to hospitals and health systems.  With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Robin Hacke (Kresge) and Katie Grace Deane (IRI) expand their work on capital absorption into the area of hospitals and health systems, examining how these institutions may be able to drive community health improvements by investing in the social determinants of health. Read more about Improving Community Health by Strengthening Community Investment: Roles for Hospitals and Health Systems

The Capital Absorption Capacity of Places

March 2012
This working paper is a first effort to describe the community investment ecosystem as a way to better evaluate and understand how community investment capital is absorbed and deployed in specific metropolitan regions. Part I describes the functions that must be performed in order to put capital to work in underserved communities. Part II offers an initial diagnostic framework that analysts can use to understand how functions are being performed in a given place and what is missing.

Capital and Collaboration: An In-Depth Look at the Community Investment System in Massachusetts Working Cities

August 2016
This publication presents the work of the Capital & Collaboration Initiative, a cross-sector effort designed to increase the scale, efficiency and impact of investments in Massachusetts Working Cities. Included are reflections from the partners, summaries of research conducted to inform the group’s deliberations, and calls to action from subgroups focused on downtown revitalization and small business development.  By the Kresge Foundation, the Initiative for Responsible Investment, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston.

Community Investment: Focusing on the System

March 2015
Focusing on the community investment (CI) system – its functions, boundaries, practices and culture – can help reduce the transaction costs and increase the scale and impact of CI. In this paper, we encourage people to think about the system for organizing CI demand, suggest ways to make the system visible and tractable in a given place, and offer some suggestions based on current and past efforts on how to make the CI system more robust. Read more about Community Investment: Focusing on the System

What Can Foundations Do to Foster Community Investment?: 10 Roles for Philanthropy

December 2014
Foundations can magnify their impact by steering private investment toward social goals. They can do this not only in their role as investors, as important as that can be, but also as grantmakers and as advocates, conveners and supporters of research. In this paper, we describe ways in which foundations can shape how capital is used to support positive social outcomes in marginalized communities.

Expanding the Geographic Reach of Community Investment: The IFF Case Study

November 2013
An in-depth CDFI case study, building on research around the Capital Absorption Capacity of Places, this work looks at the process of geographic expansion for IFF. Capital absorption is described as “the ability of communities to effectively use [private] investment capital to serve pressing needs,” with a focus on understanding community investment as an ecosystem with many different kinds of actors--public, private, and nonprofit--doing many different kinds of things. This piece provides a way to describe all those things that, along with investors and projects, were necessary to invest for social benefit in marginalized communities.

Financing Social Innovation: Analyzing Domestic Impact Investing Policy in the United States

2015
Following our first eighteen months of research with colleagues Enterprise Community Partners and InSight at Pacific Community Ventures, we’ve released this summary of our work to date. A working draft meant to catalyze discussion of how to stimulate impact investing policy reform, the paper includes a review of existing policy levers for investment as well as a framework for designing and evaluating new policies.

Impact Investing Policy in 2014: A Snapshot of Global Activity

2014 (102 pages)
17-page summary available here.
This report is a first-of-its-kind publication from the IIPC focusing on country- or issue-areas relevant to impact investing. The report offers a range of insights, from conceptual pieces on the development and mapping of the policy system, to examples of specific policies that have supported market development, and insights from private firms into how impact investing intersects with other key market areas such as international development and infrastructure investment.

Impact Investing in Development Finance

2014
Coauthored with the IIPC, this snapshot report provides insight into how a range of development finance institutions (DFIs) self-define their work in the impact investing space. The report lays the groundwork for discussions among and between DFIs, and the broader impact investing community, regarding crucial issues like geographic and mission focus, product design and development, cross-sector partnerships, standardized terminology and measurement, and the often fraught relationship between impact investing and investment return expectations.

Breaking the Binary: Policy Guide for Social Innovation

2013
Co-authored with the Schwab Foundation for Social Enterpreneurship, InSight at Pacific Community Ventures, and SK Group, this report focuses on policies that support the development of social enterprises globally, with the first half providing a framework for government policy action, supported by case studies, and the second profiling leading social enterprises as a way to illustrate models of social innovation.

Community Foundation Field Guide to Impact Investing: Reflections from the Field and Resources for Moving Forward

2013
Community foundations face unique challenges in approaching mission and impact investing. To help them navigate this space, we are pleased to share The Community Foundation Field Guide to Impact Investing with our strategic partners at the Mission Investors Exchange and the Council on Foundations. The Field Guide takes interested readers through a step-by-step process for impact investing by community foundations, from understanding the basics of impact investing to ultimate implementation, ensuring alignment between charitable purpose and impact investing practice. The Field Guide includes unique perspectives from a range of actors in the community investing space, from CEOs of large community foundations to impact investing researchers. Interviews with practitioners ground this report in the real world, while case studies of actual investments make the issues tangible for readers.

Rural Mission Investing: The Role of Foundations in Catalyzing Social Investment Markets that Benefit Rural Communities

2011
Rural mission-related investments offer foundations an opportunity to utilize the totality of their resources to promote their mission, whilst serving underserved communities and supporting market development that leverages other forms of capital to a more socially beneficial purpose. While foundations that chose to invest in this way face the risk of lower returns, higher transaction costs, and the greatest barrier of non-investable communities, opportunities for investment persist within this growing ecosystem in support of mission investments including the creation and growing prevalence of investment vehicles such as credit unions, CDFIs and loan funds with targeted economic development as their focus. Through the concentrated efforts and continued advocacy for public policy support and the continued aggregation of information regarding opportunity and performance, investment in rural communities and the responsible investment field as a whole stands to continue to grow in the upcoming years with foundations leading the charge.

Cash as a Mission-Related Investment

2011
This paper explores the asset class of cash as a vehicle for mission investing. Its goal is to help foundations who wish to engage in the practice of mission investing—leveraging endowment assets to achieve financial and mission goals—by providing a simple, practical guide to mission-related cash investing.

On Materiality and Sustainability: The Value of Disclosure in the Capital Markets

2012
This paper discusses the role of mandated corporate sustainability disclosure, touching on several key areas: historic background and current debate concerning corporate disclosure and sustainability, including existing legislation and legal arguments; definition of robust corporate and sustainability data disclosures; increasing interest in material sustainability data from institutional investors, stock exchanges, corporations and regulators; the need for prioritization of material sustainability indicators, current status, methodology; and benefits and costs of mandates material sustainability key performance indicators.

How to Read a Corporate Social Responsibility Report

2010
Whatever name they go by, corporate social responsibility reports seek to serve one essential purpose: they portray the relationship between a corporation and society. This guide is intended to help those approaching CSR reporting for the first time, as well as those looking to deepen their understanding of what makes for a thorough CSR report. It will help readers, whatever their interests or experience, to identify quickly and easily the most valuable parts of these reports.

The Value of Social Reporting

2009
The IRI examined the experiences and practices of seven companies in preparing social reports, focusing not on the social reports themselves, but rather on the process and outcomes of reporting: how companies prepare the reports, the effects of reporting on management practices, the changes companies expect to make in the future, and the lessons they have learned along the way.

Readings and Resources on Corporate Board Diversity

October, 2016

A list of links and brief descriptions of recent research, news articles and tools for trustees thinking about the business case for corporate board diversity. Created as a resource for the TLF Webinar Series.

Why and How Might Investors Respond to Economic Inequality?

October 2016
This discussion paper, written for a series of international PRI Roundtables in Japan, Singapore, South Africa, the UK and the US, examines growing economic inequality, its impacts on economic growth, and how investors can respond.  Inequality, in some ways, is a  parallel to climate change in terms of responsible investment, emerging as a paradigmatic instance of the S in ESG, as climate risk is to the E.  Calls for investors to address inequality, perhaps most prominently in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, are bringing heightened attention to this issue.  This paper is a tool for investors to think about economic inequality in a fiduciary context.

Political Disclosure and Pension Investment: Updates for Pension Trustees

A recording of the April 12, 2016 webinar.  (1 hour, 6 minutes)  (password protected)

John Keenan, Corporate Governance Analyst for AFSCME; Lisa Gilbert, Director of Congress Watch at Public Citizen; and Marian Currinder, Associate Director of the Center for Political Accountability discuss the latest on political disclosure efforts as they relate to pension fund trustees in a live TLF webinar.  

A Note on Short-Termism

TLF (2016)
Short-termism, “the focus on short time horizons by both corporate managers and financial markets,” poses significant risks both at a portfolio level and to the wider economy. This note outlines the barriers to long-term investing faced by pension funds as well as opportunities for trustees leaders to support a long-term investment strategy.

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