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Ford Foundation commits $1 billion to mission-related investments over next 10 years

Ford Foundation President Darren Walker
Ford Foundation President Darren Walker believes mission-related investments can drive social good.

The Ford Foundation announced Wednesday it will allocate up to $1 billion of its $12 billion endowment to mission-related investments over the next 10 years.

“Initial investments will focus on areas where the foundation has deep prior experience and sees both significant investment opportunity and significant alignment with its mission to reduce poverty and injustice,” said a news release from the New York-based foundation. Affordable housing in the U.S. and access to financial services in emerging markets will be two initial areas of focus.

Endowment assets will be invested in mission-related funds seeking to earn “attractive financial returns” and “concrete social returns,” according to the release. Assets will not be deployed to individual companies.

“We are making this commitment because we believe (mission-related investments) have the potential to become the next great innovation for advancing social good,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation, in the release. “We need to expand our imaginations and our tools if we want to tackle the large-scale problems facing the world today. We can't neglect the tremendous power of markets, including the capital markets, to contribute — and with today's announcement, we are putting a significant amount of our money where our mission is.”

Xavier de Souza Briggs, vice president of the foundation's economic opportunity and markets program, will oversee an investment team dedicated to managing the mission-related investments.

Further information on funding sources and any future manager searches could not immediately be learned. A spokeswoman could not immediately be reached for additional information.

The foundation has previously committed grant money to impact investments.