Investment Strategy

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Investing for impact

As a private charitable foundation, it is our objective to use all our assets, including investments, toward generating measurable, intentional positive impact in our communities and for the environment. On this page you can learn more about our strategy to align our entire endowment with our mission and to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in our portfolio by 2050 at the latest.


Complete mission aligned investing

By 2028 we will have committed all our assets towards investing for impact.


Impact investing

At the end of 2022, just over 20% of our assets are committed to impact investing. We aim to commit 100% of our endowment to impact by 2028.

2.5% PRIs

Impact allocation

As of December 31, 2022, our impact portfolio was comprised of 2.5% program-related investments (PRIs).

Aligning our endowment with our mission

The scale of the challenges our society faces requires a large-scale mobilization of public and private capital. As a philanthropic foundation, we believe that we have the responsibility to use all of our assets, whether through charitable funding or investments, to help create lasting positive social and environmental change. Building on our experience and learnings as our portfolio has grown and the impact investment ecosystem has evolved, we have launched a new investment strategy which seeks to align our entire endowment with our mission by building a 100% impact investment portfolio by 2028.

Our aim is to commit 100% of our endowment to investing for impact by 2028.

We will gradually transition our endowment to 100% impact investing by 2028, with interim targets of +$260M impact investments in 2023, +$360M impact investments in 2024, 50% impact investing by 2025, 50%-100% impact portfolio by 2026 and 100% impact by 2028.
We will gradually transition our endowment to 100% impact investing by 2028, with interim targets of +$260M impact investments in 2023, +$360M impact investments in 2024, 50% impact investing by 2025, 50%-100% impact portfolio by 2026 and 100% impact by 2028.

We will gradually transition our endowment to 100% impact investing by 2028, with an interim target of 50% impact investing by 2025.

We believe this is an important and necessary next step on our impact investing journey. Our impact investing thesis is that by aligning all of our capital with our mission, we can help build a thriving impact investing market in Canada, accelerating the shift to an impact-first economy where all investments contribute to meaningful positive impact for communities and the environment.

Working within our existing investment policy, we aim to build a balanced portfolio that achieves measurable, additional, solutions-oriented impact while generating sustainable returns to fund our charitable activities.

Our investment strategy aims to:

  • scale impact
  • build and influence the market through financial innovation and by shifting corporate and institutional behaviour,
  • strengthen the capacity of the community sector by enabling new forms of finance for charities and non-profits, and
  • align our investments, both new and existing, with international impact management best practices and integrate equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility (EDIA) considerations throughout our investment process.

Our commitment to a complete impact allocation of our portfolio comes with a greater need for consistency and transparency around impact performance so that we can be sure our investments are genuinely leading to better outcomes. We have refined our approach to measuring, monitoring, and reporting on the impacts – both positive and negative – that our investments generate. Our process draws on trusted international frameworks and principles and includes the complete integration of diversity and inclusion considerations in our investment process. We will continue to report on our progress annually through our published impact report.

Our impact investing journey

What is impact investing?

Impact investments are investments made into companies, organizations, and funds with the intention to generate measurable social and/or environmental impact alongside a financial return (The Global Impact Investing Network, 2011). Investing for impact means working with aligned stakeholders to agree on a specific purpose of an investment with respect to the social and/or environmental impact it aims to achieve. It means assessing impact risk in addition to financial risk and optimizing both financial and impact returns and rewards. Our experience so far tells us that there are two essential elements to effective impact investing:

  • A defined purpose among aligned stakeholders: while we are fully aware that a goal and intended outcomes of transactions can evolve over time, we discuss, clarify and agree upon them from the outset. We make sure that impact expectations are clear, that we embed accountability into our monitoring, and that incentives are aligned in our agreements. Transparency and accountability is multi-directional among participating parties, including the Foundation.
  • Monitoring for both financial and impact risk and return: we always consider and monitor the impact risks and returns, along with the financial risk and return. This holistic approach is important to clarify and to facilitate decision-making, especially when trade-offs exist.

Our impact investing practice

Our impact investing journey began in 2007 with a $10 million bridge loan to Quest University. In 2010 we made our second impact investment, in a private equity fund investing in clean energy, sustainable food and fair-trade companies. Since then, our impact investing portfolio has grown to 20% of our assets. Our portfolio contains a diverse set of asset classes, with a range of financial and impact risk and return profiles. Our investments include Mission-Related Investments (MRIs) and Program-Related Investments (PRIs). MRIs are made with managers whose strategies and organizational characteristics align with institutional investor requirements, delivering market rate returns alongside positive social and environmental impact. PRIs, which often have below-market rates of return, provide catalytic capital to help products and business models scale to deliver impact. Examples include social outcomes contracts, blended finance structures that combine grant and investment capital and support for emerging managers with deeply impactful or innovative ideas. Learn more about our active investments on Our Portfolio page.

As the impact investing ecosystem has grown to over $1.3 trillion globally, so too has the diversity and sophistication of the financial products and Impact Measurement and Management tools that investors and fund managers are employing for impact.

Learn more about how we plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions in our investment portfolio.