Impact investing has scored a lot of attention from the political establishment in recent weeks. On January 21, the White House hosted its third Pay for Success summit in Salt Lake City, Utah. Days later, New York Times columnist David Brooks lauded impact investing as the “most promising form” of social capitalism there is today and implored a variety of actors—high-net-worth individuals, investors, financial advisors—to get involved. Meanwhile, Congress continues to deliberate over the bipartisan Social Impact Bond Act, a $300 billion fund to support social ventures at the state level.
The one glaring omission in this recent activity, however, is the group with the capacity to tap into a pool of capital worth (literally) hundreds of billions of dollars: philanthropic foundations.