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National Geographic endowment earmarks $50 million for impact investments

The National Geographic Society, Washington, announced Wednesday it will invest $50 million of its $1.2 billion endowment in impact investments.

Cambridge Associates' CA Capital Management, the endowment's outsourced CIO, said in an emailed statement that the endowment's first dedicated impact investments will be aligned with one of more of three areas of focus— “the human journey, wildlife and wild places and our changing planet.”

Private impact investments will primarily be targeted and funding expected to come from public equity.

One to two impact investments are expected this year. Under the focus area “human journey,” the OCIO team is looking at a seed-stage, growth equity fund that provides infrastructure to schools in emerging markets countries. Under the focus area “wildlife and wild places,” the team is looking at a manager that invests in Latin American fisheries committed to sustainable operating standards.

"At National Geographic, we are committed to changing the world through science, exploration, education and storytelling," said Gary E. Knell, president and CEO, in a news release. "We recognized the opportunity to double down on our ability to make an impact — contributing to a better society not just through the grants we make, but by making investments that deliver both financial and societal returns."