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January Newsletter: A Critical Year Ahead


MIE's strategic priorities in 2018, field news, and welcome to our 20 new members. Click here to learn about MIE's National Conference in May!

Dear Friends,

This past year, we have experienced dramatic changes in our social, environmental, and political landscape, resulting in new calls to action for the philanthropic sector. More than ever, communities are looking to philanthropy to be more inclusive, equitable, ambitious, and accountable, using all its resources—beyond just dollars—to drive change. As a unique network of philanthropic leaders, Mission Investors Exchange must work with our members map this new way forward.

So many of you have already seized this opportunity to demonstrate leadership through your impact investing work, committing more resources to mission and refocusing on the deep social and environmental impact we hope to achieve. However, we all agree that there is much more work to be done. From understanding and managing risk to measuring our impact, we continue to wrestle with key questions that can be barriers to scale. As philanthropy continues to be called on to meet new and urgent challenges, we must move more quickly, more effectively, and with all the resources in our arsenal.

Mission Forward: Building a More Equitable World

The imperative to do more means pushing the boundaries on scale, innovation, partnership, equity, and impact. These themes are driving our National Conference Mission Forward! in May and our broader goals for 2018.

From Ford Foundation’s $1 billion commitment, to Heron and others reaching 100% for mission, to Detroit’s Entrepreneurs of Color Fund tripling in size, we’re starting to see efforts at significant scale. But what more can we do to grow our practices—and the market—to reach far more communities in need?

How can philanthropy push new ideas and model innovation for the world? From Incourage’s community-led change in a small town in the U.S, to the Gates Foundation’s guarantee work around the globe, foundations are pioneering new investment tools and platforms.

The foundation community is increasingly anchoring place-based impact investing ecosystems to build cross-sector partnerships and accelerate impact. How can we join forces even faster and with an inclusive approach? This $20MM fixed-income bond fund—sparked in part by MIE's 2016 Conference—offers one great example.

All of our members are deeply committed to driving resources to communities and sectors that are often excluded from opportunity. How can philanthropy play an intentional leadership role in raising this bar still further and ensuring that equity and impact are at the heart of the impact investing movement?

Supporting the Sector: MIE Increases Its Capacity

MIE's story mirrors the increasing commitments and sophistication of our members. As a mission-driven organization, our work over the past year has focused on helping our members activate and lead, with the goal of significantly increasing the volume and impact of investing by philanthropy. To achieve these goals and build our field, we're investing in our core capacity, hiring new staff, and critically thinking about how issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion affect our work. We are enhancing our programs and initiatives for members in the following ways:

Philanthropic impact investors rely on strong and trusted networks to build their practices. We're working to make it easier for members to find relevant connections through our new Member Portal and to build more cohorts of like-minded investors to share innovations and investment opportunities.

Impact investors learn by doing, teaching one another through interactive events that help put ideas into practice. We’re planning new in-person programs and webinars driven by the needs and voices of our members, and our 2018 National Conference Mission Forward! is shaping up to be our best one yet.

Impact investors must constantly learn as our field—and world—rapidly evolves. Drawing from our members' deep practice experience and expertise, we are continuing to aggregate resources on our new web platform, building the go-to library of impact investing tools for foundations and their partners.

As the impact investing field rapidly grows, the leadership role of foundations has never been more important. MIE is building the premier platforms for spotlighting foundation leadership and their commitment to equity and impact, such as our partnerships with SOCAP and SSIR last year.

Together, we have the tools, the capacity, and the will to rise to meet the challenges—and opportunities—we will face in the coming years. We are very proud to support and invest in this increasingly robust and engaged network. Thank you for the exceptional commitment, engagement, and support of our members and partners. We look forward to seeing you and accelerating our work in Chicago this May!

All my best,

Matt Onek



Visit our website for additional news and resources released this month.


Understanding the Field: Support These Surveys!

Two of our partners have begun major survey drives this month. The GIIN is reaching out to foundations and other investors to capture the state of impact investing. NFF's Nonprofit Survey relies on philanthropy to reach nonprofits across America. Please support these field building efforts! 

A Call for Long Term Value and Shareholder Engagement

Larry Fink, CEO of Black Rock, made another pressing appeal this year for corporations to prioritize long-term value creation, articulating his company’s commitment to deepen year-round engagement with the companies in which it invests. He also raised the critical need for corporations to demonstrate leadership in ESG practices and in building a diverse workforce.

Investing in the Environment: Growing Urgency

New York City recently announced a lawsuit against 5 oil companies, along with a pledge to divest about $5 billion in related investments from its pension funds, while BNP Paribas (parent company of MIE Member Bank of the West) announced in November that it will cease financing associated with oil and gas from shale and/or oil from tar sands.

For foundations interested in innovative green financing models, this recent NYTimes article on the landscape of green bonds and this Impact Alpha podcast on risk reduction as a tool in conservation finance can offer a start.

Field Research: Impact Bonds and Responsible Exits

  • Brookings Institution released a report taking a close look at the 108 global impact bonds currently issued.
  • This GIIN report outlines practical approaches to achieving responsible exits from investments and draws on insights from interviews with over 30 investors and entrepreneurs.


Visit our events page for more upcoming events. 


Feb 5, 2018


Featuring a session by MIE's Melanie Audette, this event includes tracks for impact investors with different levels of experience.


FEB 15, 2018

The Economist: Investing for Impact

Join The Economist for this event featuring dozens of leading voices in impact investing.


Welcome New Members!

MIE is pleased to share that 20 new members have joined or recently reconnected to the MIE network since our last newsletter at the end of December. Please join us in welcoming them! Visit our Member Portal to learn more.


AARP Foundation (returning member)
The Bairs Foundation
Brown Advisory
The Center on Philanthropy and Public Policy
Community Foundations of the Hudson Valley
The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida
Dorrance Family Foundation
Flat World Partners
Galloway Family Foundation
John T. Gorman Foundation
Impact Foundation
Kaiser Permanente
MCE Social Capital
Park Foundation (returning member)
Perrett Laver (returning member)
Rhode Island Foundation
Robins Foundation
Syntrinsic Investment Counsel LLC
TD Bank
The SCAN Foundation


Connect, Learn, Grow 

JOIN NOW TO PARTICIPATE IN MIE's 2018 Conference and more!

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