Virginia Foundations on Impact Investing


September 20, 2017
Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens

Virginia Community Capital (VCC) hosted over 60 attendees from across the Commonwealth at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden on the evening of September 20th for a panel discussion on the status of impact investing with foundations. Panelists included Mary Fant Donnan and Dr. Michele Ballou from The Allegany Foundation, Jessica Wirgau and CJ Carter from The New River Valley Community Foundation, Michelle Nelson and John Kemper from The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia, and Mark Constantine and Bobby Thalhimer from The Richmond Memorial Health Foundation. These board and staff pairs spoke about being early adopters of impact investing, and how it has enhanced their philanthropic portfolio and overall mission work as a foundation.

While we are going to talk locally, it’s also a global trend with a lot of momentum. It’s truly exciting to discuss the many ways foundations use their assets to pursue the mission of making the world a better place.”
– Ali Bayler, moderator & Director of Investor Relations at Spider Management Company

Here are photos from event hosted by Virginia Community Capital, a founding member of the Virginia Impact Investing Forum (VIIF). Virginia Impact Investing Forum is a consortium of leaders from the academic, business, government, non-profit and foundation sectors dedicated to building the knowledge, profile and practice of impact investing in Virginia.

Panelist, Jessica Wirgau, explained that her foundation’s board members are, “starting to understand the foundation’s role in community is not just about grantmaking, it’s about the impact it brings to the table with its endowment and also the capacity building work we do, all of this fits the trajectory” of impact investing. She stated, “we like to think we are small but mighty in terms of what we can do, we came into contact with VCC working on the NRV Livability Initiative, and got to understand what CDFIs do and saw what VCC can bring to our community.”

CDFIs, or Community Development Financial Institutions, are dedicated to delivering responsible, affordable lending to help low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people to join the economic mainstream. VCC is a CDFI, which was established in 2006 with an initial $15 million investment under Governor Mark R. Warner, and has leveraged that to over $1 billion in total project impact.

Rural and urban, private and public, healthcare, community, and corporate foundations were among those in attendance. Michelle Nelson, commented “Why do we want to consider impact investing? Even with almost $60 million in grants during 2016, there is still more work to do. Impact investing is a way to increase our impact in the region beyond our grantmaking.”

Investments with VCC are used to create opportunity in underserved areas of the Commonwealth, supporting job creation, affordable housing options, energy efficiency, healthy food access, and community revitalization.

Join the movement, and make an impact with your investments. Let’s do more together.