Program Related Investments (PRIs) and Mission Related Investing

  1. Program Related Investments (PRIs)
  2. Mission Investing
  • The Gates Family Foundation uses PRIs to increase the Foundation’s impact by deploying more of its assets each year in service to the Foundation’s mission.  PRIs include various forms of recyclable commitments of capital at below market rates of return.  PRIs can include such things as loans, loan guarantees, linked deposits, and even equity investments in charitable purpose organizations or in commercial ventures focused on charitable purposes.

    Examples of Foundation PRI commitments include:

    • Investment in a fund providing low-cost capital for energy efficiency and renewable energy investments in nonprofit facilities
    • Commitment of $1.25 million to the Enterprise Community Loan Fund to capitalize the regional Transit Oriented Development Fund (TOD Fund) to acquire sites for affordable housing and other community uses in close proximity to transit stations
    • A contingent commitment to help capitalize a statewide fund focused on creating facility solutions for high-performing charter schools in Colorado
    • Roots Elementary School
    • Evans Station Loft

    More Information

    PRI Program

    At present, the Foundation has elected to treat PRI commitments as being in addition to its required minimum grant distributions.  As a result, PRI commitments of capital increase the amount of Foundation capital put to work each year for mission-related purposes, rather than replace grant making that would otherwise have occurred.  As the Foundation was established to be a perpetual organization, the PRI program must be limited in scale so as not to impact the long-term ability to preserve the Foundation’s corpus for the future.  The current policy is to manage PRI commitments so that the maximum amount of capital revolving in this form at any given time does not exceed 5% of the main Foundation assets.

    Mission Investing

    The Foundation has elected initially to focus its mission investing activity in the areas of private equity and various forms of direct investments.  These areas potentially provide some of the best opportunities to provide capital directly to activities that are highly mission-aligned.  Public equity investments could have relevance in the long-term, but are not an immediate focus for the Foundation’s mission investing activity.

    Mission Investors Exchange

    If you are interested in learning more about both program related investments and mission-related investments, Mission Investors Exchange (formerly PRI Makers Network and More for Mission) might be a good resource. Mission Investors Exchange is an association of foundations and other philanthropic organizations that use program-related and other investments to accomplish their philanthropic goals. The association provides a forum for networking, professional development, collaboration and outreach to funders, including those new to the PRI and social investing field. You can access their website at: www.missioninvestors.org

  • Mission investing covers a variety of potential market return investments aligned with mission objectives.  The Foundation is selectively looking for opportunities to make investments through its portfolio of assets that can earn targeted market returns long-term, as well as support the Foundation’s mission in one or more core areas of interest.

    Examples of Foundation Mission Investing include:

    • Commitment of $4 million to the Colorado Impact Fund, a private equity fund focused on providing growth capital to Colorado companies that have potential to generate strong market returns, but also generate social and/or environmental benefits through the operation of their business enterprises
    • Commitment of at least $1.5 million to Beartooth Capital Fund III and related co-investment opportunities to support the conservation and restoration of ranch properties in Colorado and nearby intermountain west states
    • Beartooth Capital
    • Colorado Impact Fund

    More Information

    PRI Program

    At present, the Foundation has elected to treat PRI commitments as being in addition to its required minimum grant distributions.  As a result, PRI commitments of capital increase the amount of Foundation capital put to work each year for mission-related purposes, rather than replace grant making that would otherwise have occurred.  As the Foundation was established to be a perpetual organization, the PRI program must be limited in scale so as not to impact the long-term ability to preserve the Foundation’s corpus for the future.  The current policy is to manage PRI commitments so that the maximum amount of capital revolving in this form at any given time does not exceed 5% of the main Foundation assets.

    Mission Investing

    The Foundation has elected initially to focus its mission investing activity in the areas of private equity and various forms of direct investments.  These areas potentially provide some of the best opportunities to provide capital directly to activities that are highly mission-aligned.  Public equity investments could have relevance in the long-term, but are not an immediate focus for the Foundation’s mission investing activity.

    Mission Investors Exchange

    If you are interested in learning more about both program related investments and mission-related investments, Mission Investors Exchange (formerly PRI Makers Network and More for Mission) might be a good resource. Mission Investors Exchange is an association of foundations and other philanthropic organizations that use program-related and other investments to accomplish their philanthropic goals. The association provides a forum for networking, professional development, collaboration and outreach to funders, including those new to the PRI and social investing field. You can access their website at: www.missioninvestors.org