Impact Investing

Aligning capital investments with our mission and values

The California Endowment is committed to utilizing its investment capacity in alignment with its mission and values.

Through our $250 million commitment to impact investing, we seek to use our power as investors to provide strategic capital that lifts-up vulnerable and disinvested communities in California and supports a world where capital is aligned with our mission and values.

As part of that ambition, we are focused on addressing the historical and ongoing racial inequities in this country to advance greater racial equity. Our Impact Investing toolkit includes Program-Related Investments and Mission-Related Investments.

PRIs are financial instruments that must be repaid but also provide more flexible terms than traditional financial institutions.

Many of our PRIs are made as long-term loans but we are increasingly experimenting with other financial products that will advance our mission, such as guarantees. Our typical PRI recipient is a community-based non-profit financial intermediary. We may strategically combine our PRIs with grants so that we are able to offer a continuum of comprehensive support.

Over the last decade, our PRIs have primarily addressed the following:

Increased access to health services
Expanded the availability of fresh food for low-income communities
Supported vital community infrastructure through affordable housing and community facilities
Increased responsible financial services for consumers and small businesses

Cumulative PRI Dollars Deployed

The Endowment’s first PRI was made in 1999 to the Rural Communities Assistance Corporation, a mission-driven community development financial institution that supports rural communities. Since then, we have deployed nearly $120MM in PRIs and guarantees.

Sample PRI Recipients

Our PRI recipients are dedicated to serving vulnerable and disinvested communities in California. Here are just a few examples of our PRI partners:

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Community Investment Guarantee Pool

In January 2020, The California Endowment, in partnership with LOCUS Impact Investing and foundations cross the country, launched the nation’s first guarantee pool focused on community needs.
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Self Help Federal Credit Union

SHFCU has been a long-term partner of The California Endowment. The CDFI provides responsible and fair financial products to low-income populations and is building a more equitable and just financial system in CA.
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California FreshWorks

TCE is a long-term supporter of California FreshWorks, a program focused on increasing healthy food access and a more just and equitable food system in California.
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Genesis LA

This community development financial institution is a partner of The California Endowment in Southern CA. Genesis works in close collaboration with community to finance projects that support nonprofits, affordable housing, community facilities and economic development.

Mission-Related Investments

The California Endowment made its first MRI over a decade ago. An additional $50 million commitment to Mission-Related Investments (MRIs) was made in 2020 to further explore how The Endowment can use its investment capacity in alignment with its mission. MRIs differ from PRIs, as they seek a market-rate return in addition to impact returns.

Through investing in MRIs, The Endowment seeks to participate in the development of the growing impact investing field and increase the number of institutional fund managers that have the expertise to authentically consider impact as part of their investment theses. We also join our peers in the movement to address the racial wealth gap and inequitable access to capital among women and people of color.

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